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Description

1853 Arrows and Rays Quarter, PR66 Cameo
Among the Most Desirable Seated Proof Issues

1853 25C Arrows and Rays PR66 Cameo NGC. Ex: P. Kaufman. The 1853 Arrows issues are considered among the rarest and most desirable Seated Liberty proofs. 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. The certified population data -- eight submissions certified between NGC and PCGS -- appear riddled with duplicates.

Walter Breen recorded a proof mintage of five coins for each silver issue through the half dollar. However, it is unknown where he obtained those figures. Breen claims that the proofs were coined on March 3, 1853, on the strength of a comment made by Harold Newlin in 1883, asserting that the first Arrows half dimes 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 the earlier date.

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 15 years have passed since that sale.

1853 Arrows Proof Seated Quarter Roster
Our roster lists eight different examples, although one or two can be discounted as prooflike business strikes. Only five of the eight pieces have been certified as proofs.
1. PR67 NGC. Baltimore ANA Signature (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 1640, bought in; Milwaukee Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2010), lot 2087, which brought $166,750.

2. PR66 Cameo NGC. The present coin. Phil Kaufman Collection / Milwaukee ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1785, which brought $276,000; Scott Rudolph Collection / FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2009), lot 3766, which realized $230,000.

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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. PR63 PCGS. Auction '80 (Stack's), lot 1184; Auction '90 (Stack's), 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.

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

8. Proof. National Numismatic Collection; Smithsonian Institution.


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 is 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.
From The Greensboro Collection, Part IV.(Registry values: P5) (PCGS# 85548)

View all of [The Greensboro Collection, Part IV ]

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Auction Dates
August, 2013
8th-10th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
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