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    1804 13 Stars Reverse Quarter Eagle, BD-1, AU50
    Extremely Rare in Any Grade
    Outstanding Surface Quality

    1804 $2 1/2 13 Stars Reverse, BD-1, High R.6, AU50 PCGS. Bass-Dannreuther Die State a/d. The 1804 13 Star Reverse is one of the rarest of all early quarter eagles, and it is traditionally regarded as the most sought-after. The mintage as reported by Breen of 1,003 pieces seems suspiciously high, especially in light of the fact that the 1804 13 Star is much rarer than the 1796 With Stars and the 1797, both of which have mintages of just over 400 pieces. John Dannreuther suggests the actual mintage may be as low as 250 coins. Estimates of the number of survivors are in a tight range of a low of nine pieces (Breen) to a high of 12-14 pieces (Dannreuther); Akers' estimate of 10-12 coins fits comfortably in the middle. If one were to go strictly by the number of coins certified, it would appear to be even rarer than these estimates, with only eight coins certified by PCGS and NGC combined (4/16). This number is more consistent with our roster, which lists only eight confirmed representatives.

    The design difference is significant between the 13 and 14 star reverses. The 13 star reverse has the stars arranged in an "arc" arrangement while the 14 star variant has the stars arranged in the older "diamond shaped" patterns. The 14 star reverse die was also used on 1804 dimes, and it is believed to be a leftover die from 1798-99 when the cross arrangement was used on dimes, dollars, and half eagles.

    From the literature that covers early gold, this issue is said to be found sharply impressed as a rule. And so it is with this piece. Additionally, the surfaces are unquestionably original with deep reddish-tinted patina overall and an outline of lilac around the peripheries and within the recesses of the devices. While the grade of AU50 qualifies this as a mid-Condition Census example, the coin appears at the top end of that grade level in terms of actual preservation. A shallow scratch running vertically in the left field from stars 2 through 6, several angling adjustment marks (mint made) located in the center of the obverse, and a shorter scratch seen from the lower reverse rim into the bundle of arrows to the viewer's left of the tailfeathers act as useful pedigree identifiers.

    Most of the famous collections have lacked this issue, including Eliasberg and the Smithsonian. This lot presents a very rare opportunity for the quarter eagle collector or general collector to acquire one of the rarest U.S. gold coins of any denomination.

    1804 BD-1 Quarter Eagle Roster, 13 Star Reverse
    This roster is based on auction appearances in catalogs with sufficient photo quality to allow for plate matching, so it is always possible that a couple of other coins may exist that have long hidden from the limelight of publicity.
    1. AU58 PCGS. Judge T. Gaskill (New Netherlands 48th Sale, 11/1956), lot 184; Stack's (3/1990), lot 629; Auction '90 (Superior, 8/1990), lot 1250; Superior (5/1991), lot 1308; Long Beach Connoisseur Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 343, as AU55 PCGS, realized $149,500; R.M. Phillips Limited Partnership Collection / Los Angeles Signature (Heritage, 7/2009), lot 1209, as AU58 PCGS, realized $322,000. Pit in left reverse field, left of I in UNITED.
    2. AU55 PCGS. CAC. Amon G. Carter, Jr. Family (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 533; The McCoy Family Collection of U.S. Early Gold Quarter Eagles / FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2016), lot 5530, realized $505,250. Planchet adjustment marks at 2 and 6 o'clock on the obverse, die lump on third vertical shield stripe on the reverse.
    3. AU53 PCGS. George Earle (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2502; later, Charlotte Mint Museum (Stack's, 3/1979), lot 1672; Auction '85 (RARCOA, 7/1985), lot 349; Auction '89 (David Akers, 7/1989), lot 1359; Michael Keston (Superior, 1/1996), lot 6; Ed Price Collection of Early Dime and Quarter Eagle Varieties / ANA Signature (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 1459, realized $322,000; D. Brent Pogue Collection (Stack's Bowers and Sotheby's, 5/2015), lot 1121, brought $499,375. Diagonal line within Liberty's throat exits into right field.
    4. AU50 PCGS. Charles Neumoyer Collection (Stack's, 5/1960), lot 2352, realized $620; John Jay Pittman Collection, Part Two (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1715, realized $82,500; ANA Sale of the Millennium (Bowers and Merena, 8/2000), lot 2045, did not sell; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 3005, realized $92,000; Treasures from the S.S. New York (Stack's, 7/2009), lot 1300, realized $149,500; Chicago ANA (Stack's, 8/2014), lot 11010. Obverse field scratch from stars 2 to 6. Vertical, parallel marks across Liberty's bust. The present coin.
    5. AU50 NGC. Possibly "Cicero" (New Netherlands 55th Sale, 12/1960), lot 259; Buddy De Sylva (Superior, 2/1978), lot 644, realized $15,000; Auction '79 (Superior, 7/1979), lot 1659, realized $13,500; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2015), lot 4230, brought $82,250. Small pit below L of LIBERTY.
    6. AU50. Julian Leidman (5/1970); Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation. Obverse rim weak at 5 o'clock.
    7. XF. Fairfield Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1977), lot 1440, realized $9,250; "Dallas Bank" Collection (Sotheby's/Stack's, 10/2001), lot 300. Diagonal mark at star 9, extensive obverse adjustment marks.
    8. VF. Clark E. Gilhousen (Superior, 2/1973), lot 102, realized $3,800. Mark in front of Liberty's chin, horizontal lines on either side of star 9. (NGC ID# BFVS, Variety PCGS# 45509, Base PCGS# 7651)

    Weight: 4.37 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

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

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2016
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,576

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