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    1808 Quarter Eagle, AU53+
    Only 2,710 Pieces Struck
    Sought-After One-Year Type
    BD-1, The Sole Variety

    1808 $2 1/2 BD-1, R.4, AU53+ PCGS. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b. After newly hired Mint assistant engraver John Reich redesigned the workhorse half dollar and half eagle denominations in 1807, in 1808 he turned his considerable talents and attention to the cent and quarter eagle. The Mint's striking of 2,710 quarter eagles dated 1808 would constitute the entire mintage for the Capped Bust to Left, Large Size type (in Guide Book terminology), one of the rarest U.S. gold coin types.

    Like its predecessor, the 1796 No Stars, the 1808 quarter eagle is both a one-year and first-year type, the last utterance of the denomination from the Mint until 1821, by which time another obverse design had been created, one the Guide Book dubs the Capped Head to Left motif.

    The quarter eagle denomination was unloved and little-used throughout most of its early decades, partly explaining the rarity of both the 1808 specifically and the denomination generally. Harry W. Bass, Jr., with his interest in die states, had little to say about his coin, other than to note the ubiquitous die crack running from the rear of Liberty's cap through the right-side stars, which likely appears on every example -- probably the product of die manufacture rather than of prolonged use.

    David Akers writes of the issue in his 1975 and 1988 references on the series:

    "Although not the great rarity it is sometimes made out to be, the 1808 quarter eagle can certainly be considered to be rare, particularly in high grade. Because this is a one-year-only type, it is also unquestionably one of the most popular U.S. gold coins, and therefore, generally brings proportionally higher prices than other dates that are less rare but also less desirable. As the data clearly indicates, most available specimens are in the very fine to extremely fine range. The majority of pieces that I have seen also have edge nicks or rim bruises to some extent, and although most examples of this date are fairly well struck on the figure of Liberty and on the eagle, they are also weakly struck at the borders. Typically, the stars are flat and there are no denticles visible. ..."

    This Plus-graded AU53 example shows very little actual wear, but the peripheral devices exhibit some of the softness Akers mentions and the eagle's claws are softly rendered. The dentils exhibit the typical weakness on both sides. The design elements are well-detailed in other areas and the die crack from the cap is also easily seen on this piece. The antique-gold surfaces retain considerable amounts of original mint luster and only scattered minor abrasions are evident. Population: 6 in 53 (1 in 53+), 31 finer (6/16).
    From The Elbert Henry Gary Collection, Part II. (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.

    View all of [The Elbert Henry Gary Collection, Part II ]

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    10th-14th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
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    The marketing was exceptional from the photos to the ads in Civil War Times and North South Trader for the cross over people!!! I have had many emails from my Civil War collecting fraternity that saw these and I saw them at the national show in Nashville/Franklin in early December.
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