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1899 Quarter Eagle, PR68 Ultra Cameo
1899 $2 1/2 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC. For various reasons--some
quite obvious--certain issues are subject to multiple resubmissions
to third party grading companies. The result is that the population
data is less valuable as a research tool. Garrett and Guth comment
in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins:
Finest Known of the Issue
"The certification services have graded more than 250 examples of the 1899 Liberty Head quarter eagle in proof. Obviously, this includes rampant resubmissions. There are probably around 100 examples of the date known in proof."
Considering the total mintage of 150 1899 proof quarter eagles, the Garrett-Guth estimate of extant survivors is consistent with the level of attrition typically observed with turn-of-the-century proof gold issues. The same authors documented just 49 auction appearances for this issue between 1991 and 2005, with the grades of those coins averaging PR63. .
This stunning PR68 Ultra Cameo example displays jet-black fields that burst into a display of brilliant reflectivity when rotated under a light. The resulting contrast with the exceedingly frosty devices makes a stunning show of beauty and unimaginable preservation. NGC's grade determination was obviously influenced by the bold strike. The resulting aesthetic quality seems incomparable, even though NGC has recorded nine examples at the PR68 Ultra Cameo level (9/12). However, as stated above, the Census Report data is clearly skewed to the high side, caused by resubmissions of those in pursuit of a higher grade.
At the PR68 Ultra Cameo tier, one would assume that the submitter would accept the lofty grade and be satisfied. Such is not the case. Since 2004, the population at this level has increased fourfold. Were the seven additions to the Census Report new coins or simply resubmissions? That question can only be answered by the original submitters. We also note that six Liberty quarter eagles -- of all dates -- have been awarded the seemingly impossible grade of PR69 Ultra Cameo within the series, although none of them is an 1899.
The current specimen is tied for the finest 1899 proof quarter eagle to ever cross the block at Heritage. All things considered, aggressive bidding competition is sure to ensue when this Superb Gem Ultra Cameo proof is called at auction.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 288N, PCGS# 97925)
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