1878 Quarter Eagle Pattern, PR66+ Brown
1878 $2 1/2 Quarter Eagle, Judd-1567, Pollock-1757, R.7, PR66+
Brown NGC. CAC.
Judd-1567, Finest Certified by Two Points
Design. On the obverse the head of Liberty faces left, with the Latin motto E PLURIBUS UNUM around, and date 1878 below. Liberty's hair is tied in a bun, and she wears a hair band inscribed LIBERTY, as well as a second band further back in the hair with a leafy design. On the reverse an overlarge eagle fills the center, with small UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and 2½ DOLLARS at the rim. Struck on thinner, wider (20.5-mm vs. 18-mm) planchets than the regular issue, in copper with a reeded edge.
Commentary. George Morgan's quarter eagle design features large central devices that dwarf the lettering on the peripheries and leave relatively small open fields. The same design was used on the half eagle pattern, Judd-1568, where the large devices seem more proportionate to the larger planchet. Two examples of this design are known in gold, Judd-1566. About a dozen examples of Judd-1567 are extant, but an unusually high proportion of survivors are held by institutional collections. Three examples are in the Smithsonian Institution, one is in the Byron Reed Collection at the Durham Western Heritage Museum, and one remains in the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Research Foundation. Of the coins available to collectors, several specimens have been gold plated, including four examples certified by NGC, the finest in PR64. PCGS has certified only a single example of Judd-1567, in PR64 Brown. NGC has certified a single coin in PR62 Brown and the present coin in PR66+ Brown. The coin offered here is clearly the finest specimen available to collectors, with no serious contender.
Physical Description. The flawless surfaces of this high-end Premium Gem show even chestnut-brown patina on the central obverse, with traces of original red at the peripheries. The reverse displays more red, with attractive shades of lavender and light brown intermixed. The design elements are sharply detailed throughout and the fields have a matte-like satiny quality under the toning. Overall eye appeal is extraordinary. Census: 1 in 66+ Brown, 0 finer (3/13).
From The Eric P. Newman Collection. (NGC ID# 2AFL, PCGS# 61929)
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