Elusive Gem Proof 1909 Quarter Eagle1909 $2 1/2 PR65 NGC. The Philadelphia Mint in the years 1908 and 1911-1915 produced the so-called matte proof gold coinage, with a finish produced by sandblasting the coins after striking. But the gold proof coinage from 1909 and 1910 is almost exclusively of the Roman Finish variety, a light satiny surface that was not subjected to any poststrike treatment. Contemporary collectors are reputed to have favored the lighter Roman Finish gold, although today the matte gold as well as the satiny proofs--more mirrorlike than matte proofs, but less so than earlier proof gold--are highly treasured.
The 1909 is the rarest proof Indian Head quarter eagle in Gem or finer grades. At NGC it shows the smallest certified population (all grades) followed by the 1912 and 1915 proofs, while at PCGS the 1915, 1913, and 1912 in that order show lower proof populations. In Gem condition and finer, however, the 1909 clearly outdistances the other rarities in the series, with significantly smaller numbers. The present example is one of only nine PR65 pieces at NGC, with seven finer. PCGS has certified a single Gem 1909, with none finer (9/07).
This specimen would be a great acquisition for a high-grade gold type set. Because of the peculiarities of the incuse design, even Gems generally show tiny tick marks in the fields, the highpoints of the coin. This proof has been generally well preserved, however. While proofs are not immune to contact marks, the present Gem example, as expectedly, shows few visible distractions, those in the form of a couple of insignificant ticks. Some faint striations are visible in the reverse fields. The well-struck khaki-gold surfaces show a few areas of deeper color near the periphery.
(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 289H, PCGS# 7958)
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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