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Press Release - April 1, 2003

1842 Small Date Quarter & Half Dollar Rarities To Be Auctioned at Central States

Dallas, Texas: One of America’s rarest silver proof coins, the 1842 Quarter featuring a Small Date logotype, will be sold by Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc. at their Central States Numismatic Society convention auction in St. Louis. Heritage’s official CSNS auction will take place May 1-3, 2003.

This Gem proof 1842 Small Date Quarter has a distinct date logotype that is far smaller than the large digits used for business strikes. The Small Date variant is only available in proof format, and perhaps only six pieces survive today. The mintage has been estimated at ten to fifteen pieces, derived from conjecture regarding the number of coins struck for presentation to foreign dignitaries or made to order for collectors at that time. No actual documentation has been found in the Mint archives to support this estimate, but today there are only six known examples. Two of the six are permanently impounded in the Collections of the American Numismatic Society and the Smithsonian Institution, leaving only four coins available for collectors. While it is possible that this date variant may have been known to collectors in earlier years, no examples are known to have been sold prior to Charles Steigerwalt’s 1893 Fixed Price List #39.

“This Gem, certified PR65 by PCGS, is one of the greatest of all silver rarities in American numismatics,” opined Heritage President Greg Rohan. “Apparently, the Small Date logotype was used early in the year and quickly abandoned after the first proofs were struck. This also helps explain the rarity of the 1842-O Quarters and 1842 Half Dollars, which also used a small date punch. It was obvious when looking at a struck coin that the date was just too small.”

Added Heritage’s Chief Cataloger Mark Van Winkle: “This impressively pedigreed example is undoubtedly one of the finest examples known, and seems to have been in very few collections over the past 94 years (its tentative pedigree adapted by Q. David Bowers from Walter Breen). It was sold by the Chapman Brothers in 1906 as part of the Harlan P. Smith Collection, then sold in B. Max Mehl’s 1950 Jerome Kern Collection. As lot 1428 in the Louis E. Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/97), it brought an impressive $66,000. This is an opportunity for the serious collector to acquire a coin that is rarely offered at public auction or by private treaty. Most collectors have never seen this rare type, and we strongly encourage every advanced collector and dealer to lay eyes on this important rarity.”

From the same consignor, our Central States auction also includes a Gem proof 1842 Small Date Half Dollar out of the Norweb Collection, certified PR65 by NGC. According to Breen, only four proofs exist, and two of those are again impounded in the Collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the American Numismatic Society. Like the proof Quarters of the same date, all proof 1842 Halves seem to have been struck from Small Date dies (however, Small Date business-strike Half Dollars are also known). This example was purchased by Albert Fairchild Holden, circa 1908, and sold as lot 3131 in Norweb III (Bowers and Merena, 11/88), where it realized $14,300.

Concluded Rohan, “These two extreme rarities present a marvelous opportunity for the specialist to acquire pieces usually seen only in institutional holdings. Important coins like these reflect well on the popularity of the Central States venue, and assure that serious numismatists everywhere will be participating.”

Full-color images of these important rarities are now posted under Upcoming Highlights - Auction at Heritage’s award-winning website, The entire catalog will be posted online in mid-April.

Images, descriptions, and prices realized are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at the Heritage website, The Heritage name is recognized worldwide for bringing unparalleled value to every consignor and bidder. Year 2002 sales exceeded $170 million ($92 million at auction) and assets were approximately $30 million. is the Internet's most popular and highly trafficked rare coin site, with over 76,000 registered members. is the only coin site chosen twice by’s Best of the Web (1999 and 2001) as one of the 250 best websites on the Internet, and also won the most recent Numismatic Literary Guild award for Best Numismatic Internet Site. For more information on how to consign your coins to our next Sale contact one of our consignment coordinators at 1-800-US COINS (800.872.6467). We also invite you to visit us on the web at

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