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    Description

    1808 Quarter Eagle, AU53
    Only 2,710 Pieces Struck of This One-Year Type
    BD-1, The Sole Variety

    1808 $2 1/2 BD-1, R.4, AU53 PCGS. John Reich redesigned the quarter eagle denomination in 1808, introducing his popular Capped Bust Left motif on the obverse and replacing the Heraldic Eagle on the reverse with a more naturalistic eagle with outspread wings. The quarter eagle denomination was not popular in the early 19th century, as its face value was too high for most everyday transactions, while banking transactions were better handled by the larger half eagle coins. As a result, no quarter eagles were coined in the years between 1808 and 1821. The Capped Bust Left design was modified when coinage resumed in 1821, leaving the 1808 as a one-year design type.

    The recorded mintage for the 1808 was a meager 2,710 pieces, with a single die variety known for the date. Like most gold coins of the era, the 1808 suffered a high attrition rate over the years. Experts estimate the surviving population at no more than 125-150 pieces in all grades. Most examples seen are in higher circulated grades, and Mint State specimens are quite rare.

    The 1808 proved to be popular with collectors at an early date, and examples began to appear at auction at least as early as the Fifth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1864), lot 1665, "1808 Very fine, uncirculated, scarce." The lot sold for $9.50, a strong price at the time, to a collector named Smith. More recent sales include the attractive AU53 PCGS example we sold in July 2008 for $103,500. This is a remarkably attractive example that displays orange-gold color over each side. The strike details are strong overall, and the only marks of any consequence are a tiny cluster of three in the left obverse field and other, less-obvious ones close to stars 5 and 6.
    Ex: The Collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation (Heritage, 3/2014), lot 30210. (NGC ID# BFVZ, Variety PCGS# 45515, Base PCGS# 7660)

    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
    August, 2016
    10th-14th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
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