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    1808 Capped Bust Quarter Eagle, XF40
    Popular Single-Year Type, BD-1
    Early Gold Rarity

    1808 $2 1/2 BD-1, R.4, XF40 PCGS. Bass-Dannreuther Die State b, with a die crack from the top of the cap through the stars on the right. John Reich's Capped Bust Left design debuted on the quarter eagle in 1808, when a modest mintage of 2,710 pieces was accomplished. A single die variety is known for the date, with Reich's signature notched outside point on star 13. The small mintage was due to lack of demand, rather than any technical difficulties with production. No more quarter eagles were struck until 1821, by which time the design had changed again, to the Capped Head Left motif, making the 1808 an elusive one-year type coin.

    The rise in popularity of type collecting has made the 1808 Capped Bust Left quarter eagle an extremely popular issue in today's market, but it was somewhat overshadowed by other dates in the early days of the hobby. The low-mintage 1806 Capped Bust Right quarter eagle received much more attention in 19th century auction catalogs. For instance, in W. Elliot Woodward's Fifth Semi-Annual Sale (10/1864), the 1806 quarter eagle in lot 1663 was described as:

    "1806 Very fine impression, scarcely at all circulated, of the highest rarity, not more than four or five known. The emission was so small that no record exists of their coinage."

    The lot realized $35, to William Lilliendahl. Meanwhile, the 1808 quarter eagle in lot 1665 received this cursory description:

    "1808 Very fine, uncirculated, scarce."

    The 1808 quarter eagle realized $9.50 to a collector named Smith. This situation persisted for many years. It was far into the 20th century, when better records were available and new collecting disciplines were established, before the 1808 quarter eagle achieved the dominant position it enjoys today. To quote Walter Breen, "Since this design is found only on this date of quarter eagle and the date is rare, prices have gone into orbit, even exceeding the 1796." Recent sales include the VF35 PCGS example in lot 4978 of the FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2018), that realized $61,320 and the XF45 PCGS specimen in lot 3803 of the Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 6/2017), that realized $82,250.

    This impressive XF specimen shows light wear on the design elements, which exhibit the typical softness of this issue on the obverse. For some reason, the obverse dentils are almost always weak on the 1808, and this coin is no exception, with some rudimentary dentils on the upper left quadrant and nothing anywhere else. The reverse is sharper, but the dentilation is still weak. The pleasing orange-gold surfaces are lightly abraded and retain a few traces of original mint luster. The 1808 Capped Bust quarter eagle is listed among the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins. Population: 5 in 40, 50 finer (3/21).
    From The Gibney Family Collection.

    Coin Index Numbers: (Variety PCGS# 45515, Base PCGS# 7660)

    Weight: 4.37 grams

    Metal: 91.67% Gold, 8.33% Copper

    View all of [The Gibney Family Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 31
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 448

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