Condition Census 1806/4 Quarter Eagle
1806/4 $2 1/2 8x5 Stars MS64 NGC. Breen-6122, BD-1, High
R.4. BD Obverse State b/Reverse State b. The 1806/4 BD-1 quarter
eagle has the stars arranged 8 and 5 on the left and right, while
the 1806/5 BD-2 has the stars arranged 7 and 6. The 1806/5 BD-2 is
rated High R.5 by Bass-Dannreuther (25-35 known), while the 1806/4
is rated High R.4 (75-90 known).
8x5 Stars, BD-1, MS64
This wonderful near-Gem example of the 1806/4 BD-1 is certainly rare by any definition of the word, however. The remnants of the underlying 4 are obvious beneath the left side of the 6 in the date. The serif of the 1 nearly touches the hair, and the pointed top of the 6 lies well up into the lower drapery. Stars 1 and 8 touch the hair curl and cap, respectively. On the reverse, star 11 is double punched, with nine star points showing. Each E is missing its upper left serif.
As featured in the Ed Price Collection elsewhere in this auction, this reverse is one of the seven known dual-denomination dies used to produce both early dimes and quarter eagles between 1797 and 1807. The reverse die of the present example was earlier used to produce the 1805 BD-1 quarter eagles, and later to produce the 1806/5 BD-2 quarter eagles, the 1807 BD-1 quarter eagles, and finally the 1807 JR-1 dimes.
This coin is apparently in a slightly earlier obverse die state than the Ed Price coin. All known specimens including the present piece show a crack connecting stars 2-7. As on the Price coin, one small die crack runs from a dentil left of L and joins the tops of LIB, and another connects the tops of ERTY. Again as on Price, a crack connects stars 9 and 10--but unlike the Price coin, there is as yet no trace of a crack connecting stars 12 and 13 to the border near the date.
Gorgeous mint luster radiates from the greenish-gold surfaces, which are prooflike in appearance (although undesignated by NGC). Some light planchet adjustment marks appear in Liberty's hair on the obverse, scarcely visible without a loupe. Strike softness is noted in the center reverse on IBUS UNUM, the scroll, eagle's neck, the shield lines, and the base of the eagle's left (facing) wing. Some light planchet roughness, as made, appears occasionally near the rims under a loupe. Overall, however, the prooflike surfaces with superb luster and a near-total lack of singular abrasions confirm the eye appeal, and more than justify the near-Gem grade.
In MS64 this specimen is currently the single finest certified 1806/4 at NGC, and at PCGS there is also a single MS64 finest (7/08).(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# BFVW, PCGS# 7654)
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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