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    Description

    1808 Capped Bust Left Quarter Eagle
    In-Demand One-Year Type Coin
    BD-1, Unc Details

    1808 $2 1/2 BD-1, R.4 -- Altered Surfaces -- PCGS Genuine Secure. Unc Details. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b. John Reich redesigned both sides of the quarter eagle in 1808, switching the obverse design from the Capped Bust Right to the Capped Bust Left motif. The reverse die features a more naturalistic eagle than the large Heraldic Eagle it replaced. Only 2,710 coins of the new design were struck, with a single die variety known for the date. For some reason, the dentilation is weak on almost all examples seen. John Dannreuther attributes this to the design, rather than any deficiency in the open-collar striking equipment. No more quarter eagles were struck until 1821, by which time the obverse had been modified to the Capped Head Left design, making the 1808 a one-year type coin.

    As a low-mintage, one-year type issue, the 1808 Capped Bust Left quarter eagle has been extremely popular with collectors from the very start of the hobby. Examples were appearing at auction by the early 1860s and commanded significant premiums whenever they were offered. The specimen in lot 1665 of the Fifth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1864) was described as "1808 Very fine, uncirculated, scarce." The lot realized $9.50, equaling the price paid for the celebrated 1796 No Stars quarter eagle sold earlier in the sale. Of course, prices are astronomically higher today. The current price realized record for an 1808 Capped Bust Left quarter eagle belongs to the spectacular MS65 PCGS specimen from the D. Brent Pogue Collection, which sold for a staggering $2,350,000 when it sold in May of 2015.

    The coin offered here is an attractive orange-gold example with sharply detailed central design elements. Some planchet adjustment marks show on the reverse rim, making the peripheral elements somewhat soft in those areas. A spidery die crack runs from the cap through the stars on the right, but the surfaces show few signs of contact and no actual wear. Some filing is evident on the edge, however. The overall presentation is most attractive for this always popular early gold issue.


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

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    2nd-6th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 22
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