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    Lovely MS64 1831 Quarter Eagle

    1831 $2 1/2 MS64 PCGS. Breen-6134, BD-1, R.4. While there is only one generally acknowledged die pairing for this issue, the proof specimen write-up in the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Museum Sylloge, by Q. David Bowers offers this tantalizing note: "In addition to the standard die for this variety, there may be another, not known to modern students of the series, a mention located by QDB in 1997 when perusing old catalogues... In his April 1886 sale of the J.S. Twining Collection, W. Elliot Woodward offered Lot 950, a Proof 1831, followed by Lot 951 described as: '1831 Different die; nearly equal to the last, scarce.' * To complete the record it is necessary to mention the 1859 note by Dr. Montroville W. Dickeson, American Numismatical Manual: 'One type and two varieties. Rare.' However, most of Dickeson's die notes on early gold coins are erratic, and as such they cannot be used by modern student[s] of the series (nor did Harry W. Bass, Jr., use them)."
    Discovery of new errors, or long-forgotten varieties, is part of what makes numismatics such a rich and enduring passion for so many numismatists and numismaphiles. As Bowers quotes Harry Bass, Jr., in the prefatory material of the Bass Sylloge:

    < "The object of collecting is not only to acquire objects, study them, and assemble them in a meaningful progression or array; and then try to improve your conditions; but to discover the undiscovered or rediscover the previously discovered but now forgotten objects.
    The opportunity to do this in my area of specialty has heightened for me the charm and excitement of collecting."

    While this lovely coin is not a proof, it was struck from the same dies. The same reverse die was used with different obverse dies for the years 1830 through 1834. The engraver, perhaps William Kneass, blundered the U in UNITED, along with the last A and the I in AMERICA. Each letter was first punched too far to the left, then corrected. Recutting also shows on the R in AMERICA, and the lowest arrowhead is blunted. The first 2 in the denomination is broken midway and has a curled base, while the second 2, in the denominator, has a flat base. On the obverse the date is well formed, with all digits level, and stars 8, 11, and 13 show signs of recutting.
    The prooflike fields on this piece are highly attractive, and they are nearly complete with the exception of a thin ring of mint luster just inside the denticles on each side. The striking details are strong throughout with the exception of the juncture of the left (facing) wing of the eagle and the left side of the shield. Light, even, reddish-tinted patina is seen over both obverse and reverse. Population: 11 coins in 64, with eight pieces finer (10/06).(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# BFWA, PCGS# 7671)

    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
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