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Description

Near-Flawless 1897 Quarter Eagle
PR67+ Ultra Cameo

1897 $2 1/2 PR67+ Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. The 1897 gold proof set was issued to the extent of a maximum of 69 units, as that was the recorded mintage of the eagle coin, with 76 reported for the double eagle. The Mint during this late-19th century period, however, sold singletons as well as complete sets, and so it is that 136 examples of the quarter eagle proof were reported. Likely only half of that number survives today.
A number of factors in confluence resulted in the existence of this remarkable coin. First, rather obvious but nonetheless worth pointing out, was the discontinuance of the gold dollar (and three dollar) denomination(s) in 1889, so that the quarter eagle remained as the lowest gold denomination, the object of collectors who desired only a single gold proof to represent the year. Second, by this time in the 19th century, numerous numismatists possessed the means, the connections, and the desire to collect proof gold, which was preferred over business strikes. Third, the year 1896 through 1898 are well-renowned for the quality and notable cameo contrast of not only the silver coinage, but the gold coinage as well. Morgan dollar collectors are well aware of the deeply contrasted cameo proofs dated 1896 through 1898, but those properties extend to the gold proofs as well. Finally, the Mint's switch to the semibrilliant, lower-contrast method of producing proof coins in 1902 makes these earlier Liberty Head proofs extremely popular.
The field-device contrast on this 1897 quarter eagle is absolute. The coin presents as black and gold throughout, save for a single cloudy spot in the space between star 10 and the two loops of hair in the bun. The surfaces are practically flawless, aside from a pinpoint defect off the point of the bust and another below the 9 in the date, mentioned as pedigree identifiers, since any fault is trivial in the context of the amazing all-around eye appeal. Census: 1 in 67+ Ultra Cameo, 8 finer (9/11).
From The Milly Chaykin Collection.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 288L, PCGS# 97923)

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Auction Dates
October, 2011
13th-16th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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