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    One of the Two Finest Certified 1824/1 Quarter Eagles, Incredible Near-Gem Preservation

    1824/1 $2 1/2 MS 64 NGC. Elected in 1824, John Quincy Adams was one of the most studious and capable men to hold the office of President of the United States. Contemporaries got a glimpse of his intellectual ability when, as Secretary of State under President James Monroe, Adams served as the chief architect of the Monroe Doctrine. Presented to Congress on December 2, 1823, the doctrine stipulated that the entire Western Hemisphere must remain free of European colonization and/or intervention at the risk of arousing the ire of the United States. Although the federal government could not enforce the proclamation save through Great Britain's naval supremacy, Adams' had scored a significant moral victory for the young nation. Despite the great promise and undeniable ability that he demonstrated as a member of Monroe's cabinet, Adams' presidency ranks as one of the most disappointing of the 19th century. Blunt in his presentation and callous toward potential political allies, Adams lacked the 'gentle touch' required of a successful chief executive. In 1828, disconnected from Congress and scorned by large segments of the public, Adams' one-term presidency met its ignominious end with the sweeping election of Andrew Jackson.
    During the early 1790s, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton conducted extensive research into the subject of the United States' future coinage. Unfortunately, the Mint Act of 1792 did not incorporate every aspect of Hamilton's proposed decimal system. Among the gold denominations authorized, Congress envisioned the quarter eagle as an important monetary stepping stone between the silver dollar and the gold half eagle. Although the concept looked infallible on paper, in practice the quarter eagle failed to live up to its economic potential through the mid-1830s. In the decades before gold dollar production, the quarter eagle could have plugged a yawning gap in both banks' stocks and consumers' pockets. After 1808, however, public interest in the denomination reached such a low that, with the exception of 1821, the Philadelphia Mint had ignored quarter eagle production until 1824. The latter year's mintage inaugurated limited deliveries through 1834, but, like John Quincy Adams, the quarter eagle continued to fall short of its potential. Instead of fulfilling their anointed task as circulating mediums of exchange, most of the Capped Head Left quarter eagles of 1821-1834 went to the melting pot in the aftermath of the Coinage Act of 1834.
    Struck in the year of Adams' election, the 1824/1 quarter eagle registered a paltry delivery of 2,600 pieces. Although this is the lowest original mintage of the series after the 1826/5, survivors of the delivery are among the more frequently encountered type representatives among today's collectors. In Mint State, nevertheless, the issue is understandably rare and the present MS 64 specimen is one the two finest certified examples to date (1/01). Characteristic of the issue, the underdigit is all but invisible save for the serif of the 1 within the top triangle of the 4. The eagle's left (facing) breast, leg, and wing feathers are noticeably weak, but the balance of the features exhibit razor sharp delineation that is quite uncommon for this poorly produced issue. For pedigree purposes, we call attention to a small abrasion on the truncation of Liberty's neck before the hair curl and a second contact mark in the left obverse field between stars 5 and 6. The balance of the surfaces are, however, smooth and indicative of the near-Gem assessment. Suitably frosted, the green-gold faces exhibit mottled copper highlights that hardly inhibit the overall appearance of this lovely piece. While John Quincy Adams has faded into obscurity among all but the most passionate historians, the rarity of the quarter eagles that the Mint produced around the time of his presidency ensures their continued popularity among advanced numismatists.
    From the Christopher Young Collection. (NGC ID# BFW4, PCGS# 7663)

    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
    April, 2001
    5th-6th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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