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    Exceptionally Rare Gem 1827 Quarter Eagle

    1827 $2 1/2 MS65 NGC. Breen-6131, Bass-3025, BD-1, R.5. The only known dies, with the close fraction reverse having previously served in both 1825 and 1826. In the outstanding new book Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties - A Study of Die States 1795-1834 by John Dannreuther and Harry Bass, the authors state that the reverse was produced from reverse State c, "lapped to remove clashing that occurred when it was paired with the 1826/6 obverse (possibly exists in State a/b before lapping... and conceivably in a later state with some injury to either die.)" Dannreuther further notes that the single Bass Collection example was struck with this lapped die, with the angled clashmarks noted between the left end of the scroll and the wing on reverse State b removed.
    It is therefore significant that examination of this coin shows faint but undeniable angled clash marks, again below the left side of the scroll and near the eagle's beak. These marks are not as strong as the clashmarks that appear on reverse State b, where the mark makes contact with the wing. Rather, the marks on this piece are a bit more subdued, most noticeable at the angle. The Bass Sylloge states that the dies for Mr. Bass' example were perfect, "the reverse now lapped to remove clash marks." However, the Childs specimen, an MS62 coin sold by Bowers and Merena in 1999, was noted as having similar marks to the present coin. A selection of other recent appearances made by Mint State specimens of the date reveals no other mentions of clashmarks at all, and photographic evidence is inconclusive as to how often these marks appear, thanks in no small part to the small size of the coin.
    Another feature of the reverse deserves mention, as well. Notable on the right side of the scroll, and as struck, is some unevenness around the letters NUM. We believe that this may be a sign of die crumbling, which would mean that this could be the late die state Dannreuther speculates about. There is no question that the dies used to strike this piece have been lapped, but it remains open to question whether they were lapped incompletely or this is a new die clash. Further numismatic research will need to be done in order to answer this question.
    Of course, what makes research on this piece difficult is the fact that this is quite a rare coin in an absolute sense and even more so in high grades. This is thanks in large part to a tiny mintage of 2,800 pieces, and in even larger part to the wholesale melting of all gold coins that took place in the early 1830s when the intrinsic value of the gold in U.S. coinage exceeded the face value. Not more than 50 pieces are believed to exist in all grades. The major services have combined to certify 57 pieces, but this figure includes resubmissions.
    The coin itself is uniformly pale green-gold in color and well struck for the issue, a little blunt in the centers, but with no trace of weakness on the stars. It is a bright, frosty piece, enormously attractive both at a glance and upon closer examination. The few trivial surface blemishes that are present affect neither the grade nor the eye appeal, with perhaps the most important for pedigree purposes being a tiny tick between the right end of the scroll and the eagle's neck. Significantly, this is also one of only two pieces to have ever received a Gem grade from either of the major services, and it is the sole example in such a lofty grade--and one of a mere fifteen pieces overall--that Heritage has ever had the privilege to offer. Indeed, according to our records, this is the first time either Gem-certified example of the date has been offered at public auction. This is an opportunity for the connoisseur of both rarity and quality, and as such, an opportunity that may not arise again for many years. Census: 1 in 65, 0 finer (11/06).(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# BFW6, PCGS# 7666)

    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
    January, 2007
    3rd-6th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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