1871-CC Seated Quarter, MS65, Sole Finest at PCGS
1871-CC 25C MS65 PCGS Secure. CAC. Briggs 1-A. In MS65 grade
with the added CAC green sticker, this piece is the sole finest
PCGS-certified example of this second-year Carson City quarter. It
is the only Gem example of this issue with the CAC endorsement, and
given that and its PCGS certification, we consider it to be the
most valuable 1871-CC Seated quarter. It is a matter of
subjective judgment whether this piece or the Eliasberg MS65 NGC
example is the more beautiful coin, but both are of
marvelous aesthetic and technical quality.
Ex: James A. Stack-Battle Born Collections
Landmark Rarity, One of Three Mint State Survivors
First Mint State Example We Have Offered in 15 Years
This piece is one of only three Mint State survivors known for the date. All three offer impeccable credentials. The present Gardner Collection coin previously hails from the collections of James A. Stack, Reed Hawn, and Rusty Goe, among others. More recently, it was a noteworthy star among the incredible run of Carson City coins in Stack's offering of the Battle Born Collection (Stack's, 8/2012), lot 11092. Mr. Gardner took advantage of that opportunity to upgrade his previous 1871-CC quarter, an AU55 PCGS-CAC example (!) purchased from Legend Numismatics in January 2009.
Variety: Briggs 1-A, the sole die pair known for the meager mintage of 10,890 coins. Repunching (triple punching) is evident on both 1s in the date. The first 1 shows evidence of two underlying 1s both below the base and at the underside of the flag (although this appears as double-punching on lower-grade coins). The last 1's peak shows two underlying punches and a three-step "notched" effect atop the right serif. Two small lumps of die rust appear to the right of the Y in LIBERTY in the drapery. The same reverse die was employed for the Carson City quarters dated 1870, 1871, 1872, and 1873: the Cs are widely spaced; a horizontal die line runs through the interior of the F in OF; and a die line appears in the recess behind the eagle's heel.
Population Data (5/14): The Gardner Collection coin, MS65 PCGS-CAC, is the sole Mint State example currently certified at PCGS (see more information in the roster below). The second-finest is one AU55 PCGS coin. NGC also shows only one Mint State coin, an MS65, with the second-finest an AU53 NGC piece.
Heritage Commentary: This legendary quarter was one of the stars of the Battle Born Collection auctioned by Stack's in August 2012, a phenomenal, stellar set of Carson City coinage assembled by numismatist, coin dealer, and Carson City Mint expert Rusty Goe, the author of the invaluable The Mint on Carson Street as well as the lesser-known James Crawford, Master of the Mint at Carson City: A Short, Full Life.
Although Mr. Gardner upgraded his AU55 NGC coin to this MS65 PCGS piece, he wrote comments in his self-published reference volumes regarding the AU55 coin that remain cogent:
"In November 1992 Doug Barr wrote an article (republished in the Gobrecht Journal, volume 4, p. 389) detailing the Condition Census for this date. And in the 20 or so intervening years, nothing seems to have changed. He listed three Uncirculated specimens with the James A. Stack coin just nudging out the Norweb coin for top honors with these followed by the Eliasberg piece (a few years later Briggs placed the Eliasberg coin first. The coin listed here, the Miles coin, placed fourth, and was the only AU specimen known at the time. The pop reports of today continue to confirm this ranking, although one of the three Uncirculated coins (an MS64 PCGS from the Kennywood Collection, ANR January 2005) appears at some point to have been delisted. ..."
In every landmark collection, no matter how grand, there are certain coins that will stand out from the crowd and remain in the "collective" memory long after the headlines have been written, the press releases issued, the bidder cards thrown away, and the numismatic community looks forward to the Next Big Thing. This is one such coin, a standout in any crowd.
Physical Description: The surfaces of this coin are pristine and uniformly well-preserved, showing not a single mark or mentionable distraction. It has been debated in the past as to whether this piece could be some sort of special presentation piece, although we believe it is "merely" a nice, reflective prooflike business strike, fortunately preserved with loving attention -- perhaps by early series specialist Ard Browning or some other unknown numismatist, to whom collectors will, nonetheless, forever owe a debt of thanks. The prevailing color is a soft pearlescent silver-gray, interspersed with accents of olive, copper-russet, blue-gray, and amber. Despite the moderate color, vibrant luster percolates from each side. The reverse is fully struck and the obverse nearly so, save for a lack of absolute definition on a few of the left-side peripheral stars.
Roster of Mint State 1871-CC Seated Quarters
Only three Mint State examples of the 1871-CC quarter are known between PCGS and NGC combined. The roster is updated from that provided in the Stack's auction of the Battle Born Collection.
1. MS65 PCGS. CAC. Earlier provenance uncertain, although researchers have speculated that quarter specialist Ard W. Browning may have owned this piece at one time; Giacomo Opezzo sale (Stack's, 8/1941), lot 1865; James A. Stack Collection (Stack's, 3/1975), lot 130; Reed Hawn Collection (Stack's, 3/1977), lot 365; Fred Sweeney; Mulford B. Simons, Jr.; Ron Iskowitz; Steve Innarelli; Rusty Goe (2001); Battle Born Collection/Philadelphia ANA (Stack's, 8/2012), lot 11092; Eugene H. Gardner. The present example.
2. MS65 NGC. F.C.C. Boyd; World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1945); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1497.
3. MS64 PCGS. Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb; Norweb Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 3/1998), lot 1640; William Greene; Greene Collection (Superior, 2/1998), lot 2033; Nevada Collection (Heritage, 8/1999), lot 6279; Kennywood Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 1/2005), lot 443. Now delisted from the PCGS Population Report for reasons that are unclear. (The NGC Census Report continues to show only one submission in MS65 NGC and no other Mint State coins, so it seems unlikely that this piece would now be in an NGC holder. The next-finest NGC example after the Eliasberg MS65 NGC coin above is the AU53 ex: Richmond Collection coin.)
Provenance: See #1 in roster above.(Registry values: P9) (NGC ID# 23UN, PCGS# 5479)
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