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    Description

    1841 Quarter Eagle, PR4
    Historic 'Little Princess' Issue
    CAC, One of Only 14 to 18 Pieces Known

    1841 $2 1/2 PR4 PCGS. CAC. JD-1, High R.6. The 1841 quarter eagle is one of the most famous gold issues in U.S. coinage. Dubbed the "Little Princess" since at least the 1950s, this issue has been the subject of an inordinate amount of research, especially in recent years, in an attempt to uncover the mystery of its coinage. Mint records are silent on the coinage of these pieces, despite the need to balance the bullion accounts at the end of every fiscal year. Of the 14 to 18 examples known to exist today, most have distinct prooflike characteristics, and a few are unquestioned proofs. Others are in various states of impairment, showing evidence of mishandling and wear. Traditionally, the 1841 quarter eagles have all been considered proofs, since they all come from the same die pair. However, modern thinking on this topic is that a few pieces were struck as proofs, and then a small number of pieces were struck without special occasion using the same dies. The coinage may have been recorded under the totals for 1840 or 1842, depending on when the 1841 coins were struck. Debate concerning this issue is not yet resolved.

    What is certain about the 1841 quarter eagle is that it is a major rarity. Our roster of known specimens tallies just 16 pieces (which may include one or two duplications or omissions). Of these, three are in institutional collections and not available to collectors. Few of the privately held specimens have appeared at auction in recent years, and most show various degrees of wear from circulation. The present example is the most worn example known.

    This piece was last certain to have appeared publicly in a January 1969 Rarcoa sale, although it may also have been the coin in Abner Kreisberg's June 1970 sale. It was previously from the Edwin Hydeman Collection (Kosoff, 3/1961). Wear is extensive, although both sides are relatively smooth with uniform honey-gold patina. A linear mark to the left of the date and a small rim mark near star 2 serve as pedigree markers, although this coin also stands apart from the other known specimens as the only piece with a partially worn away reverse rim: 2:00 to 10:00. The obverse rim is sharp. This is one of just two 1841 quarter eagles with CAC approval, adding to its appeal.

    While some collectors may view this piece as the "affordable" example of the issue because of its grade, the truth is that any example of this date is immeasurably important since it is unlikely that another will appear at auction any time soon. Moreover, the singularity of this coin in its given grade, and the fact that it has been so many decades off of the market, leaves the door wide open for feverish bidding comparable to that garnered by higher-grade specimens. We are privileged to be able to offer this piece, and we encourage collectors to approach the auction of this famous rarity prepared for competition.
    Ex: Edwin Hydeman Collection (Abe Kosoff, 3/1961), lot 548; RARCOA (1/1969), lot 399; possibly reappearing in Abner Kreisberg (6/1970), lot 1497; John Albanese (2002); the present consignor via private treaty (2002).(Registry values: P10)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 25LZ, PCGS# 7867)

    Weight: 4.18 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2020
    3rd-9th Monday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 35
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,897

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