1908 $2 1/2 PR67+ NGC. JD-1, R.4. Bela Lyon Pratt'...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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1908 Indian Quarter Eagle, PR67+
1908 $2 1/2 PR67+ NGC. JD-1, R.4. Bela Lyon Pratt's
innovative Indian design, with incuse devices and lettering, was
introduced on the quarter eagle in 1908. The Mint found it
impossible to produce the brilliant proofs of earlier years with
the new design because they could not polish the fields of the
dies, which were lower than the design elements, and frost the
devices, which were raised on the dies. Instead, the Mint opted for
a matte, or sandblast, finish for gold proofs, which resulted in a
coin with an artistic, almost medallic appearance, but with
somewhat muted luster characteristics and dark surfaces.
Anticipating intense demand because of the novelty of the design, a
generous mintage of 500 proof Indian quarter eagles was struck,
with the coins all delivered on November 25. Unfortunately,
contemporary collectors failed to appreciate the sandblast finish
and only 236 examples were sold, with the remainder melted after
the end of the year. John Dannreuther estimates the surviving
population at 100-120 examples in all grades today.
Important First Year of Design
The present coin is a Plus-graded Superb Gem with sharply detailed design elements in most areas and just the slightest softness on the feathers at the eagle's shoulder. The pleasing orange-gold surfaces are essentially flawless, with soft matte luster and outstanding eye appeal. Census: 33 in 67 (2 in 67+), 2 finer (4/20).
Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 289G, PCGS# 7957)
Weight: 4.18 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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