1804 14 Star Reverse Quarter Eagle, BD-2
1804 $2 1/2 14 Star Reverse MS62 PCGS. CAC. Breen-6119, BD-2,
R.4. With less than 200 pieces believed to be extant in any
condition, the 1804 quarter eagle is a coin that the vast majority
of today's collectors will only read about. Acquisition of an
example in any condition would be considered a milestone for even
the most advanced collections, but obtaining a true Mint State
example is a goal few realize. This sentiment is supported by the
fact that the finest Smithsonian Institution specimen is considered
to grade AU55.
MS62, Bright, Semiprooflike Surfaces
While the much rarer BD-1 variety of this issue displays 13 reverse stars, the current example, BD-2, is known as the 14 Star Reverse variety. The significance of the 14 stars is not definitively known, although it is widely accepted that the extra star was simply the result of a die layout error. The budget-conscious early Mint would not have discarded a die for such a minor issue, hence the existence of this variety today. Some numismatic researchers conjecture that this reverse die, which was also used to strike the 1804 JR-2 dimes, is actually an unused 1798 die. The main evidence cited to support this theory is the cross pattern arrangement of the reverse stars, as opposed to the arc pattern that became the accepted style on later issues.
The three known die states of this variety are of little concern to most collectors since any attempt to collect this issue by die state, or even die variety for that matter, is reserved for the most esteemed and financially capable of numismatists. But for the sake of posterity, this example is Die State a/a, with both sides free of lapping, clashing, or cracks found on later states. It is interesting to contemplate how a coin with a mintage of 3,327 pieces (the obverse die was used on both BD-1 and BD-2) could have fatigued to the point of developing die cracks. The reverse die was also employed to strike at least a few thousand 1804 dimes, yet it is only known in the perfect state.
The current piece has bright, lustrous surfaces with a semiprooflike finish in the fields. Each side has a slight overlay of reddish patina, noticeable both in the fields and over the devices. The strike is bold, although a few slight marks and shallow planchet flakes appear on both sides. Population: 6 in 62, 2 finer (11/11).
Ex: Leo Beranek Collection/FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2008), lot 3062, which brought $63,250.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFVT, PCGS# 7652)
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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