Problem-Free AU53 1808 Quarter Eagle
1808 $2 1/2 AU53 PCGS. Ex: Garrett. Breen-6125, BD-1, R.4.
The 1808 quarter eagle is one of the keystones of a collection of
U.S. gold type coins. Its design is unique to this one year with
Liberty depicted with a Phyrgian cap facing left, and the reverse
showing an eagle with a shield on the breast and an olive branch in
its left (facing) talons and three arrows in the right (facing)
talons. In addition to the design, what is notable about the 1808
vs. earlier quarter eagles is the presence of the denomination 2
1/2 D. on the lower reverse.
The entire production run was delivered to the Mint's cashier on February 26, 1808. It is not known why the output was so low and limited to just this one year. Presumably it is because half eagles were the preferred denomination by banks among gold coins. This assumption seems correct as it was not until 1821 that more quarter eagles were struck.
The 1808 two and a half has several distinctive striking characteristics that are not seen on other dates and design types. For one the stars are invariably flat and the rims are ill-defined. This lack of a determinant rim undoubtedly was responsible for the coins wearing more quickly than expected. This situation is similar to the reverse of Reeded Edge halves and the Paquet twenties from 1861--all of these issues were short-lived because they lacked durability in the channels of commerce.
In addition to the high grade of this piece, the pedigree is quite impressive. T. Harrison Garrett purchased this coin from Dr. Edward Maris, who is remembered today for his pioneering study of New Jersey state coppers, which is still the standard for the series. The surfaces have a significant overlay of reddish patina with green-gold undertones. Slight traces of mint luster can be seen around the devices. The central details are well defined, but the peripheral stars are softly detailed, as expected. There are no mentionable or noticeable marks on either side of this impressive coin.
Ex: Dr. Edward Maris; T. Harrison Garrett; Garrett II (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/1980), lot 742; Mandalay Bay (Bowers and Merena, 10/2004), lot 606; New York Connoisseur's Collection (ANR, 3/2006), lot 1421.
From The Aspen Collection.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# BFVZ, PCGS# 7660)
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