1908 Indian Quarter Eagle, PR68
    Rare Matte Proof Issue
    Single Finest Certified Example

    1908 $2 1/2 PR68 NGC. The innovative incuse Indian Head design for the quarter and half eagles made its debut in 1908, to mixed reviews. The Mint also introduced the matte proof format that year, with dark granular surfaces, much different from the reflective brilliant proofs collectors were used to. The proof mintage was large for the quarter eagle, at 236 pieces, but collectors did not like the matte format and it is likely that many sets went unsold and were melted at year's end. The issue is still the most available proof of the series, with a surviving population of 125-165 examples in all grades. The date is particularly popular as a type coin. Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth opine, "For the type collector, the 1908 Proof makes a perfect choice in terms of availability, quality, and being the first year of issue."

    The 1908 proofs began appearing in auctions at an early date. A specimen in the Charles W. Cowell Collection (B. Max Mehl, 11/1911), lot 157 was described as:

    "1908 The new type with large Indian head facing left, the word LIBERTY above and date below. Six stars before, and seven behind head. Reverse, Eagle standing to left. Above UNITED STATES OF AMERICA below 2 1/2 DOLLARS. E PLURIBUS UNUM in three lines in field to left of eagle, and IN GOD WE TRUST in four lines to right of eagle. The entire design is incused (stamped or sunk in). Sand Blast Proof, (dull finish) wire edge. Very rare."

    Apparently, Mehl felt it necessary to describe the Indian Head design three years after it was launched, despite the fact that many specimens of this issue were saved by the general public for their novelty value.
    The present coin displays the usual dark surfaces, with a noticeable overlay of reddish patina. A full wire rim surrounds both sides. The surfaces appear technically perfect, with none of the shiny contact spots often seen on this issue. Eye appeal is spectacular. This piece is the single finest-certified example at either of the leading grading services. Census: 1 in 68, 0 finer (3/14).(Registry values: N7079) (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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    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    23rd-27th Wednesday-Sunday
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