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    1823/2 Quarter, B-1, MS61
    Classic Unsung Rarity of American Numismatics
    Second or Third in the Condition Census

    1823/2 25C B-1, High R.5, MS61 NGC. CAC. Beautiful bluish-hazel field color complements medium gray on the device high points front and back, with amber-gold accents in some protected areas. The only mentionable contact is a tick in the lower-right obverse field, just right of the date. On the reverse, a couple of small ticks appear in the field underneath UN(ITED). The strike is somewhat blunt on the peripheral stars and the lower portion of the eagle.

    Variety: B-1, High R.5. The top hook of the 2, the diagonal, and the bottom swirl of the 2 are all plain and bold underneath the 3.

    Population Data (7/14): The finest at PCGS is a single submission in AU58 (which may or may not be the Steve Elwood AU55 PCGS upgraded). The last (and highest-grade business strike) public auction appearance we know of is the AU55 PCGS example from Superior (8/2002), the Elwood coin, which brought $46,000 a dozen years ago. The Early Quarter Dollars of the U.S. Mint reference by Rea, Peterson, Karoleff, and Kovach provides a detailed (and plated) Condition Census of exactly 30 examples, ranging from the top PR64 PCGS and MS61 NGC (both Gene Gardner) examples down to 12 pieces in various stages of Good 4.

    Heritage Commentary: The hits just keep on coming in the Gene Gardner Collection. This 1823/2 quarter follows on the heels of the 1822 25/50C blundered-denomination quarter in the previous lot, an R.5 rarity that is second in the Condition Census among business strikes. The present 1823/2 quarter, certified MS61 NGC, also occupies the second (or third?) position in the Condition Census behind the PR64 PCGS Gardner coin and an MS62 NGC example for which we have no information or public auction records; is the MS62 NGC submission indeed a separate, different coin? Interestingly, this MS61 NGC example is listed in second place in the Condition Census in both the Early Quarter Dollars (Rea et al.) and Early United States Quarters (Tompkins) references; both omit the MS62 NGC "coin" without comment. (Both also note that the Gardner coin at one time was certified MS61 Prooflike by NGC.) The PR64 PCGS-CAC example also owned by Gene Gardner, which traded in our Gardner Part One Signature (Heritage, 6/2014), lot 30356, realized a strong $396,563.

    Greg Reynolds, writing in CoinLink in 2009, discussed the 1823/2 quarters in the context of the great Joseph C. Thomas Collection (Heritage, 4/2009), which contained two examples of the 1823/2, a VF30 NGC and a VG10 PCGS:

    "The 1823/2 quarter is definitely an extreme rarity and is probably under-appreciated. Discussions of 1823/2 quarters are infrequent. Further, 1823/2 quarters never seem to 'make news.' Relatively less rare 1804 quarters and 1804 dimes are more famous. I remember an NGC graded MS-62 1804 quarter being on the front page of Numismatic News weekly. At least one other probably has been so honored. Even though as many as five hundred may exist, the auction record for an 1804 quarter is $310,500, for the Speir-Colonel Green 1804 about a year ago. In July 2008, an 1804 dime from the Ed Price collection sold for $632,500. Half dimes of 1802 are also more famous than 1823/2 quarters. Has an 1823/2 quarter ever been auctioned for as much as $100,000?"

    Until the auction of the Gene Gardner PR64 example, the answer to Reynolds' question would have been "no." But not merely because they are underappreciated, but also because they are seen at auction so seldom in high grade. This MS61 NGC coin gives collectors a second opportunity in the Gardner Collection at one of the classic unsung rarities of American numismatics.

    Provenance: Harlan Page Smith (S.H. and H. Chapman, 6/1906), lot 775; Hollinbeck-Kagin (11/1973), lot 1140; Summit Rare Coins; purchased from Chris Napolitano (7/2005). (NGC ID# 4E54, Variety PCGS# 38971, Base PCGS# 5334)

    Weight: 6.74 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2014
    27th Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,115

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