1841 Quarter, PR66
1841 25C PR66 NGC. Briggs 4-B. A solid strike brings out
complete definition on all of the design elements of this
incredible PR66 coin. Liberty's hair and the eagle's plumage are
fully delineated, as is the foot with its complete separation from
the sandal and its straps. Deeply mirrored fields establish
pronounced contrast with the design elements when the coin is
tilted beneath a light source, and medium-intensity violet,
cobalt-blue, and gold patina in the fields further serves to
highlight the lighter champagne-gold and soft blue hues of the
One of Four Known Proofs
Finest Certified by Five Grades
Both faces exhibit impeccable preservation, though we mention what Akers referred to as "... a few very light contact marks hidden under the toning in the right obverse field." A minute carbon speck beneath the eagle's beak provides an identifier for future pedigree researchers, such as dedicated auction catalogers.
Given its full strike, exquisite original toning, and exemplary preservation, enough cannot be said about the outstanding eye appeal exuded by this finest-certified 1841 proof quarter, which will undoubtedly find a new home in a top-shelf collection.
The only Premium Gem proof 1841 Seated quarter in existence, this piece is the finest of just four proofs that are available to collectors, so far as we know. In his May 1998 cataloging of this 1841 quarter when it was part of the John Jay Pittman Collection, David Akers writes: "This Proof 1841 Quarter, especially given its considerable superiority in terms of condition to the only other Proofs known, is one of the rarest and most important of the many Proof Liberty Seated coins in the John Jay Pittman Collection."
And rare and important this Premium Gem is. In his 1988 Encyclopedia, Breen says there are "4 proofs known." Larry Briggs, in his The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of United States Liberty Seated Quarters, writes of the mintage: "2+ proofs-2 verified." A mere four specimens have been reported in the population reports -- NGC has only certified this PR66 Pittman-Kaufman specimen, while PCGS has graded two PR61s.
Based on our auction records research, we believe there are only four known 1841 proof quarters: the present specimen; the Smithsonian proof forever out of collectors' hands; and the two PR61 PCGS examples, one of which is likely ex: Superior (6/1985), lot 757. The other PR61 specimen has the pedigree: Superior (10/1990), lot 3531; Silbermünzen Collection (Heritage, 5/2008), lot 336; Bowers and Merena (11/2008), lot 2016.
Variety: Briggs 4-B. The date slopes slightly upward. On the reverse shield, line two of vertical stripe 2 extends furthest into the horizontal lines.
Population Data (5/14): The present specimen is the sole 1841 proof certified by NGC. PCGS has encapsulated two proofs, both PR61.
Heritage Commentary: There are only a few useful die characteristics on each side. The shield point on the obverse is directly over the right side of the upright of the first 1. The digits in the date appear to slant to the left, and the 41 are slightly closer than other pairs of digits. Probably, a three-digit date logotype was used to enter the 184, and the final 1 was separately punched into the working die.
Several of the vertical elements in the shield on the reverse extend through one or more horizontal crossbars. The second vertical line in stripe 2 extends to horizontal crossbar 5. The second line of stripe 6 reaches crossbar 4, and the second line of stripe 3 extends to crossbar 3.
Provenance: Sam Kabealo (1941); 1959 ANA Sale, lot 2480; New Netherlands (54th Sale, 4/1960), lot 1113; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 1302; The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two (Heritage, 1/2008), lot 3020; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2009), lot 3762; ANA Signature (Heritage, 7/2009), lot 1084; Greensboro Collection, Part III (Heritage, 4/2013), lot 4217.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 23W4, PCGS# 5535)
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