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    Description

    1820 Capped Bust Quarter, PR64, B-4
    Only Known Proof of This Variety
    Ex: Earle / Norweb

    1820 25C Browning 4, Small 0 PR64 PCGS Secure. CAC. Ex: Norweb. Before the Mint began their program of commercial proof offerings in 1858, no records were kept of how many proof coins were made during any particular year. In the early days, before about 1840, proofs were struck whenever some government official, such as the Secretary of State, requested specimen coins for diplomatic presentations, or when well-connected collectors, like Robert Gilmore, Jr., made special arrangements to procure the coins for their collections. As we understand the process today, when the Mint received these orders, the workmen polished a business-strike die, perhaps polished specially selected planchets, and struck the desired coins on the screw press normally used to produce medals. Thus, if the Mint received requests for proofs at different times during the year, they were struck from whatever dies were on hand at the time, resulting in several different die varieties of proof coins of the same date and denomination. This is the case for the extremely rare proof quarters of 1820.

    Only four examples of the 1820 Capped Bust proof quarter are known today, representing three different die varieties. The coin offered here is an example of the B-4 variety, with a small 0 in the date and small obverse stars. The same reverse die was used on the 1821 B-1 and B-3 varieties, and die state evidence suggests the B-4 business-strike coins were actually struck in 1821, after these other two emissions. This single proof example may have been struck in 1821 as well, if no suitable 1821-dated dies were available.

    The present coin possesses an unbroken pedigree over the last century, at one time being a highlight of such celebrated gatherings known as the George Earle Collection and the famous collection of Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb. In the Norweb Collection, this coin was accompanied by a remarkable specimen of the 1820 B-2 variety that Walter Breen believed was a one-sided proof, but that coin has now been certified as an MS64 business-strike by NGC. Breen also thought the present coin might be a one-sided proof because of some frosty luster on the reverse, but PCGS has determined this coin is definitely a proof striking.

    This coin exhibits a stunning play of colors, with vivid shades of iridescent champagne-gold, cerulean-blue, and lavender patina blanketing the pleasing surfaces of both sides. The fields display areas of bright reflectivity under the toning. Some evidence of die rust can be seen in the obverse field near star 3, and on the reverse near the lowest leaves, adding credence to the idea that the coin was struck in 1821. The devices are sharply detailed throughout, adding to the incredible visual appeal. This combination of extreme rarity, high technical grade, and spectacular aesthetic appeal, with great historic interest and an extensive pedigree, makes this coin one of the most impressive offerings of the current sale. Population (all varieties): 1 in 64, 2 finer (5/17).

    Roster of 1820 Proof Quarters
    1. PR66 PCGS. B-1. Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2005), lot 2639, which realized $218,500 (as PR67 NGC); D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I (Stack's/Bowers, 5/2015), lot 1061, which realized $188,000.
    2. PR64 NGC. B-1. Auction '89 (Superior, 7/1989), lot 566; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 5/2008), lot 306, realized $97,750.
    3. PR63 uncertified. B-2. National Numismatic Collection, Smithsonian Institution, formerly in the Mint Cabinet.
    4. PR64 PCGS. B-4. George Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 3052; Hillyer C. Ryder; Wayte Raymond; Louis Eliasberg duplicates, (New Netherlands, 6/1957), lot 1146; Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 3/1988), lot 1532; Auction '90 (Superior, 8/1990), lot 1069; Baltimore ANA (Heritage, 7/1993), lot 5246; Whitney P. Summerland Collection (Bowers and Merena, 3/1994), lot 1245; Pre-Long Beach Elite Auction (Superior, 9/2008), lot 180; Philadelphia Signature (Heritage, 8/2012), lot 5114; Regency Auction XIII (Legend, 9/2015), lot 117. The present coin.

    Additional Appearances:
    A. Brilliant Proof. B-1. Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H.& H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 1330.
    B. Brilliant Proof. B-1. Richard B. Winsor Collection (S.H.& H. Chapman, 12/1895), lot 592.
    C. Proof. B-1. George Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 3051.
    D. Proof. B-1. A specimen displayed by Howard Newcomb at the 1914 ANS Exhibition.
    E. Proof. B-1. World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1945), lot 69.
    Note: The B-2 specimen in the Anderson-Dupont, Norweb, and Goldberg's May 2003 sales has traditionally been called a one-sided proof, but it is now certified as MS64 NGC. This coin was also mistakenly identified as the Browning, Col. Green example in several references, but that coin was in the Eric P. Newman Collection, graded MS63.

    Coin Index Numbers: (Variety PCGS# 528377, Base PCGS# 5365)

    Weight: 6.74 grams

    Metal: 89.24% Silver, 10.76% Copper


    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2017
    8th-11th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 28
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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    The marketing was exceptional from the photos to the ads in Civil War Times and North South Trader for the cross over people!!! I have had many emails from my Civil War collecting fraternity that saw these and I saw them at the national show in Nashville/Franklin in early December.
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