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Marvelous 1853 Arrows and Rays Quarter, PR66 Cameo

1853 25C Arrows and Rays PR66 Cameo NGC. Ex: P. Kaufman. The 1853 issues are considered the rarest and most desirable proof Seated Liberty proof. All denominations are rare, especially the quarter dollar and half dollar. The Premium Gem Cameo proof offered here is second finest of four or five certified proofs.
Walter Breen recorded a proof mintage of five coins for each silver issue through the half dollar. However, it is not known where he obtained these figures. Breen also claims that the proofs were coined on March 3, 1853, on the strength of a comment made by Harold Newlin in 1883. Newlin claimed that the first half dimes with arrows were made on March 3, 1853. Since April 29 was the first coinage of record, Breen decided that the proofs of all denominations were made on March 3.
David Akers published a census of 1853 Arrows and Rays quarters in the May 1998 John Jay Pittman Collection catalog, which we have expanded as 10 years have passed since that sale. Our roster lists seven different examples, although one or two of these can be discounted as prooflike business strikes. Only four of the following seven pieces have been certified as proofs.

1. PR66 Cameo NGC. The present coin.
The Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, Part One (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1785. This piece does not match any of the following.

2. PR65 NGC.
Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1454; Heritage (1/1998), lot 6782; David Lawrence (3/2005), lot 1522. In the Eliasberg catalog, Dave Bowers described this piece as MS64, prooflike, noting "possibly a candidate for 'proof' attribution." Since the time of that sale, it has been certified as a proof.

3. PR64 NGC.
Jerome Kern Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1950), lot 1445; John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1325; Bowers and Merena (8/1999), lot 141; Goldberg Coins (2/2002), lot 704; Superior (1/2004), lot 287.

4. MS64, prooflike.
Thomas L. Elder; Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 3/1988), lot 1594. Dave Bowers cataloged this as a prooflike business strike in the Norweb catalog, but a decade later Dave Akers included it in his census of proofs.

5. PR63 PCGS.
Stack's, Auction '80, lot 1184; Stack's, Auction '90, lot 143; Stack's (5/1992), lot 2659; Superior (6/1999), lot 2099; Superior (10/2000), lot 4360; Goldberg Coins (5/2001), lot 561; Superior (1/2004), lot 2354.

6. Proof.
Lester Merkin (6/1968), lot 291; Stack's (10/1990), lot 1638.

7. Proof.
National Numismatic Collection; Smithsonian Institution.

NGC has certified a PR67 piece in addition to those listed above. We have no further notes about that piece, probably a resubmission of one of the above listed coins.
The obverse field is deeply mirrored, and the reverse field is lightly mirrored, with numerous die polish lines visible on both sides. Slight mirrored surface appears between the vertical shield stripes on the reverse. No clash marks, die cracks, or other defects can be found. Both arrowheads and the date are recut, visible mostly on the 53 and right arrowhead. The shield point is over the right base of the 1, or about centered between the 1 and 8. The reverse has faint die scratches inside the Q. Short die lines extend up to the left from the dentils outside of stars 11, 12, and 13.
Bold design elements on each side suggest the proof status of this Premium Gem. Every individual detail is bold and completely defined. Every central line in each of the 13 stars are complete. The head detail is stronger than any seen to date. No toning is present on either side, thus the brilliant silver surfaces allow maximum contrast between the fields and devices. The left obverse field has a shallow blemish between Liberty's arm and star 2. A partial wire rim is visible around much of the obverse and reverse circumference. Census: 1 in 66 Cameo, 1 finer (10/08).
From The Scott Rudolph Collection.
See: Video Lot Description(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 23WU, PCGS# 5548)

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Auction Dates
January, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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