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Description

Arrows and Rays 1853 Quarter
Very Rare PR65 Cameo
One-Year Proof Type

1853 25C Arrows and Rays PR65 Cameo NGC. Walter Breen's Proof Encyclopedia records a total of five proofs and Larry Briggs' Liberty Seated quarter reference does likewise, probably following Breen's lead. Breen identifies (while citing no reference) the occasion for the pieces' striking on March 3 as the introduction of the new Arrows and Rays subtype, whose business-strike coinage began on April 26. (This remark apparently dates to Harold Newlin in the 1880s, who pegged the striking of proof half dimes to that date. Breen leapt, rightly or wrongly, to the conclusion that all Arrows and Rays proofs were struck on that date.)
As any serious collector of 19th century proof coinage knows, proof coins of any denomination and year before 1858 or so are quite rare. This piece should be doubly popular, as it is not only incredibly rare in its own right, but it is also a one-year proof representative of the important Arrows and Rays subtype. (While the 1853 and 1854 are often collected and considered as a single type, the 1854 Seated quarters lack the Rays reverse, technically making the two issues distinct subtypes.) The proof 1853 Arrows and Rays quarter is considered the most important proof issue in the Seated Liberty quarter collection.
Although this coin is not attributed as such by NGC, it is clearly the specimen from the Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, where Q. David Bowers cataloged it as "MS-64, prooflike," going into extensive detail on why the piece might be a true proof -- at least, as that term might apply to coins dated 1853. Among the similarities he cites that are visible on this piece are "delicate champagne toning over mirror surfaces" and the die finishing lines just inside the denticles over stars 11 and 12. A small patch of darker toning midway down Liberty's right (facing) calf is a match, as is the tiny rim crease just above the Liberty cap, between stars 8 and 9 (this is, however, apparently in the die, as some other specimens in the roster below show the same feature). The color plate in the Eliasberg catalog is also a full match.
Ex: J.M. Clapp (acquired as "Uncirculated") at an early date, probably before 1894; John H. Clapp; Clapp estate, 1942, to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1454; Heritage (1/1998), lot 6782; David Lawrence (3/2005), lot 1522; unknown intermediaries; Central States (Heritage, 4/2009), lot 2353; FUN (Heritage, 1/2010), lot 2518.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 23WU, PCGS# 85548)

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Auction Dates
September, 2012
6th-9th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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