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    1836 Classic Head Quarter Eagle, PR65+ Deep Cameo
    Only Collectible Example With the Second Head of 1837, JD-1
    Ex: Parmelee, Mills, Woodin, Eliasberg

    1836 $2.50 PR65+ Deep Cameo PCGS Secure. CAC. Block 8, Second Head of 1837, Breen-6144, Variety 15, JD-1, R.7 as a proof.
    Ex: Parmelee-Woodin-Eliasberg. The 1836 Classic Head quarter eagle is very rare in proof format. NGC and PCGS have combined to certify a number of coins in a variety of grades and die varieties, but we believe the population data is skewed by resubmissions and crossovers, making the totals unreliable. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at just 4-6 examples in all grades. We have compiled a roster of the seven specimens known to us below, including one coin in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and another in the collection of the British Museum.

    In the 1830s, proofs were only struck to order, the most famous instance being the 1834 diplomatic presentation proof sets requested by Secretary of State John Forsyth that included the famous Class I 1804 dollars. No records were kept of proof mintages in the years before the Mint started its commercial proof set offerings in 1858, but the production totals were always small. In his new work, United States Proof Coins, Volume IV: Gold, John Dannreuther estimates the original mintage of the 1836 proof quarter eagle at 10 examples, a reasonable total in light of the number of survivors.

    Research on die varieties of early proof gold has progressed continuously since the 1970s, with many missteps and changes in nomenclature along the way. The seven specimens in our roster were struck from three different die pairs. Two of these varieties were known to Walter Breen in 1977, and classified as the Head of 1834, and the Head of 1835 in his Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins. Research by later numismatists, like David Akers, Dr. John McCloskey, and Mark Borckardt, resulted in several discoveries and revisions. Breen's Head of 1834 became the Second Head of 1837, his Head of 1835 nomenclature was retained, and the third variety, unknown to Breen, was labeled the Small Head of 1834. The latest research indicates none of the dies used to strike these proofs are an exact match for the head punches they were named after, although they are very similar. Dannreuther notes:

    "Called the Heads of 1834, 1835, and 1837 in the past, the actual heads used are similar, but not the same as those used in 1834, 1835 and 1837 ... All the Classic Head gold coins had their dies modified after the devices were sunk into each working die ..."

    Dannreuther introduces his own designations, with JD-1 corresponding to the Second Head of 1837, JD-2 representing the Head of 1834, and JD-3 analogous to the Head of 1835. The coin offered here represents the Second Head of 1837, JD-1 variety. The variety is identified by the Block 8 in the date and the middle arrow ending at the middle of C in AMERICA. Two other coins in the roster were struck from this die pair, but they are both impounded in institutional collections, out of reach of eager collectors. The coin offered here is the only collectible specimen of the JD-1 variety.

    The present coin claims the most illustrious pedigree of any of the known specimens. It first appeared in the collection of George Seavey, and was exhibited by him at the February 4, 1869 meeting of the Boston Numismatic Society. It was later owned by famous numismatists Lorin G. Parmelee, John Mills, William H. Woodin, and Louis Eliasberg, among others. The coin possesses stunning eye appeal to complement its high technical grade. The richly frosted devices contrast boldly with the deeply mirrored fields, creating an intense cameo effect. The design elements are sharply detailed in most areas, with just a touch of softness on Liberty's hair below the coronet and the shield border. A die line extends from star 5 to the coronet, and another is visible in the field below star 7. A wire rim encircles much of the lower obverse, partly concealed by the prongs of the holder. Some doubling is evident on the reverse legend. A slight discoloration below the second T in STATES acts as a pedigree marker. The well-preserved copper-gold surfaces show only a few minor hairlines and insignificant contact marks on close inspection. It may be years before a comparable specimen becomes available.

    Roster of 1836 Proof Quarter Eagles.
    1. PR65+ Deep Cameo PCGS Secure, CAC, Second Head of 1837, JD-1. George Seavey; Seavey Descriptive Catalog (William Strobridge, 6/1873), lot 553; Lorin G. Parmelee, who purchased Seavey's collection intact before the date of the sale; Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1055; Harlan Page Smith; John G. Mills Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 4/1904), lot 550; William H. Woodin Collection (Thomas Elder, 3/1911), lot 956; John H. Clapp; purchased from the Clapp Estate in 1942 by Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., in a blockbuster sale of the entire Clapp collection via Stack's; United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 103; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bass Collection, Part III (Bowers and Merena, 5/2000), lot 92 (as PR64 PCGS); A Gentleman's Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 6/2005), lot 1007 (as PR65 Cameo NGC), realized $247,250; Baltimore Auction (Stack's Bowers, 3/2012), lot 4264 (as PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC), realized $287,500; the present coin.
    2. PR66 Deep Cameo, per Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, Second Head of 1837, JD-1. Smithsonian Institution.
    3. Proof Uncertified, Second Head of 1837, JD-1. Harry Osborn Cureton; purchased by the British Museum in 1845, reported by Saul Teichman and John Dannreuther.
    4. PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC, Small Head of 1834, JD-2. First seen in the Stone House Coin Shop, per Walter Breen; 68th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/2003), lot 2072; Dr. Robert Loewinger Collection (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3104, realized $253,000.
    5. PR64+ Cameo PCGS Secure, CAC, Small Head of 1834, JD-2. World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946), lot 103; Memorable Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 97; John Jay Pittman Collection, Part II (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1720; Spectrum Numismatics and Kevin Lipton; Lucien M. LaRiviere Collection, Part III (Bowers and Merena, 5/2001), lot 171; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2012), lot 5214, realized $195,500; Dr. James Ferrendelli; ANA Convention Auction (Stack's Bowers, 8/2014), lot 11037.
    6. PR66 ★ Ultra Cameo NGC, Head of 1835, JD-3. A specimen from a complete proof set purchased directly from the Mint, preserved for generations by a Philadelphia area family; Brian Hendelson; Midwestern collector; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 7/2002), lot 577; Tacasyl Collection (Bonhams, 9/2013), lot 1002, realized $409,500.
    7. PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC, Head of 1835, JD-3. Col. E.H.R. Green; Jerome Kern Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1950), lot 26; Abe Kosoff; 55th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/1990), lot 1674; Jesse Lipka and Rick Sear; Jesse Lipka.

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 614243)

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

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    25th-29th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 18
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,112

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