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1901 Quarter Eagle, Reflective PR68 Cameo
Among the Few Finest Certified

1901 $2 1/2 PR68 Cameo NGC. The large proof mintage of Liberty Head quarter eagles in 1901 resulted in a wide range of quality in the surviving examples. There were 223 proofs made, the largest of any proof Liberty Head quarter eagle. The reason for the especially large mintage is not apparent today, although the Mint may have made extra pieces of what was at the time the smallest circulating gold denomination, for extra collectors desiring to keep a souvenir of the change from the 19th to 20th centuries.
It would be another year, in 1902, before the Mint would do away with the deeply contrasted method of manufacturing proof gold -- the ideal was deeply reflective, mirrored fields against devices displaying thick mint frost -- so a fairly generous number of proof 1901 quarter eagles are certified in Cameo or Deep/Ultra Cameo designations.
Given the rather large mintage, it is unsurprising to find a wide distribution in grades for the 1901 quarter eagles. At the lower end of the scale, one finds a few slightly impaired proofs, in the range of PR55 to PR60. The middle grade range is occupied by several dozen examples each at NGC and PCGS in the PR63-PR64 grades. On the other end of the spectrum (where the present piece resides, along with a few others), we find seven examples in the PR68 grade: one PR68 at PCGS, with no Cameo or Deep Cameo designation; and two PR68 Cameos (including this piece) and four PR68 Ultra Cameos at NGC. Remarkably, there are also two PR69 examples graded, both at NGC with the Ultra Cameo designation (1/12).
The present coin boasts moderate field-device contrast over deeply reflective fields that show moderate orange-peel texture. The prevailing coloration is a medium yellow-gold. A small, shallow planchet flake out of the field below stars 8 and 9 will allow future pedigree identification.
From The Aspen Collection of Proof Coinage.(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 288R, PCGS# 87927)

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Auction Dates
February, 2012
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