Wonderful 1802 BD-2 Quarter Eagle, MS62
1802 $2 1/2 MS62 NGC. BD-2, High R.5. A wonderful
example with brilliant green-gold luster on both sides. The obverse
is frosty and the reverse is satiny with reflective fields. A few
scattered marks are entirely insignificant. Like most 1802 quarter
eagles, the central obverse and reverse design elements are
Die State. The obverse has a tiny die chip or rust mark at the back of Liberty's hair. The reverse die is perfect.
Condition Census. This is possibly the only Mint State example of the variety known.
Appearances. Plated in the Bowers and Merena 2002 catalog.
Obverse Die. The final digit is smaller than the others and approximately centered between border and bust. The 1 has a short serif almost touching the hair. New layout with LIBERTY entirely right of the cap. Letters are spaced increasingly farther apart from left to right with L extremely close to the cap and I very slightly low. Eight stars left and five right, remarkably evenly spaced. Star 1 has two points very close to the hair and star 8 is much further from the cap. Star 9 is closer to Y than star 13 is to bust.
State a. Perfect. State b. A tiny die defect appears on a back strand of Liberty's hair.
Reverse Die. A leaf tip ends just right of base of I but does not touch this letter. All three E's are missing their upper left serif. U is much closer to an arrow shaft than to border. First S is low. Upright of E is over space between clouds 4 and 5. Left base of first A in AMERICA is extremely close to third and fourth feathers. Bases of ME are joined and RI are very close. Final A is distant from both the claw and lowest leaf. Five berries in branch with three lowest berries free of leaves. Outer arrow point is below right edge of U. Arrows extend below center of left upright of N. Thirteen stars with normal arrangement of six in the top row and five below. Star 2 is separated from clouds and oriented below left base of A. Star 7 is left of vertical below star 2. Star 12 joins upper and lower points of beak. Star 13 is high above scroll and points to left upright of U.
State a. Perfect.
Heritage Commentary. The tiny obverse die dot that forms on Liberty's hair in this marriage assists us in determining emission sequences. Since no other 1802 quarter eagle variety is known with this feature, we place 1802 BD-2 last in the sequence. This reverse was also used to produce dimes, 1802 JR-4 and 1804 JR-1, along with 1804 13 Stars quarter eagles, BD-1. In his monograph, Walter Breen noted that this is a very rare variety with none recently offered.
Consignor Commentary. This is the finest I have seen. Stu Levine and I drove to New Hampshire to view the lots for this auction. I was focused on the Draped Bust dimes in the Russ Logan portion of the sale. I already owned a Choice XF example of this quarter eagle variety, which I had purchased at Stack's sale of the N.S. Poole Collection in 1994. At that time, I was not particularly interested in upgrading the quarter eagles. Stu was viewing the entire sale. I had plenty of time so I looked at the few early quarter eagles in the sale. When I saw this coin, I realized that it was high in the Condition Census and could easily be the finest known. I also believed that it would not command a premium for being a rare variety. In 2002, collectors were not yet focused on rare varieties, which were not separately listed in the Guide Book. Today, of course, there is much more interest in rarities such as this coin.
Provenance. Ex: Bowers and Merena (11/2002), lot 3064.
From The Ed Price Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 25F6, PCGS# 7650)
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