Exceedingly Rare 1846 Proof Seated Quarter, One of Perhaps Seven Known Examples1846 25C PR 65 NGC. The rarity of this proof issue is such that, while he had representatives of many proof Seated quarter issues from the 1840s, John Jay Pittman was missing the 1846. Breen traces the pedigrees of only seven specimens, one of which may be the gorgeous Gem that realized $20,900 as lot 1439 in the Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers & Merena, 4/97). The present coin is easily the equal of Eliasberg's specimen in terms of both technical quality and aesthetic allure. Even tan-lilac toning bathes both sides with intense electric-blue and lavender undertones visible at certain angles. The fields are bright and form a perfect backdrop for the sharply defined devices. A contact mark in the field above Liberty's foot should help establish this coin's pedigree.
In his Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins: 1722-1977, Walter Breen gives the diagnostic features of this rare issue. These include: die file marks in the obverse field after the date; "extra hair" below Liberty's chin; a small outline about the top of star 1; a die file mark from the reverse rim to the top of the E in AMERICA; and reverse shield stripes that extend well into the horizontal lines. Needless to say, the present coin displays all of these features under magnification. (NGC ID# 23W9, PCGS# 5540)
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