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    Description

    Important 1858 Quarter Eagle, PR65 Cameo
    Likely Tied for Second Finest Known
    One of Five or Six Survivors

    1858 $2 1/2 PR65 Cameo NGC. CAC. In 1853 the Mint saw its Director Thomas M. Pettit serve for only one month in office, from April to May, before his death. Pettit's successor was a name familiar to many numismatists, James Ross Snowden, who served from 1853 until 1861. In 1858 the Mint, under Snowden's direction, changed its policies drastically, moving from a "good old boys club," where proof coins and other numismatic delicacies were made available only to well-connected insiders, to an institution where the public could buy, at least, proof coins from the current year.
    The production of numismatic delicacies, on the other hand, went unchecked for many years -- decades -- into the future, but that is a tale for another day.
    The year 1858 is thus thought of among numismatists as that in which proof coinage became generally available. The mintage of the 1858 proof quarter eagle went unrecorded, but in any case the issue is extremely rare; counting the examples in the Smithsonian and the ANS, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth estimate that only five or six examples survive. The present Gem Cameo proof, like all known proof examples, displays a frosty or unfinished area in the lower loop of the 5. The most obvious other attribute on this piece is a tiny raised die line near the rim above star 11 (visible on some other proofs) and two tiny planchet indents, apparently as made, just above the rear of the hair bun. Deep orange-on-black field-device contrast and a lack of apparent contact make this coin appear on the cusp of an even finer grade.
    The certified populations total five submissions at NGC and PCGS combined: NGC shows one each in 64 Cameo, 65 Cameo, and 66 Cameo, while PCGS shows one each in 65 and 65 Cameo (8/12).
    The finest numerically certified to date appears to be the Kennywood Collection coin in PR66 Cameo NGC (ANR, 1/2005), lot 863, which we subsequently handled twice. As part of the Dr. Robert J. Loewinger Collection in our FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3105, the piece brought $97,750, and in our Milwaukee ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1847, it fetched $103,500.
    The last appearance of a PR65 Cameo PCGS example, formerly in the Eliasberg and Buss collections, brought $83,375 in our San Francisco ANA Signature (Heritage, 7/2005), lot 10322.
    The 1858 proof quarter eagle would be a cornerstone of what might be a monumental collecting achievement, the assembling of a complete proof quarter eagle run from 1858 to 1915, including the rare 1863 issue. The present piece is nonetheless perhaps three times rarer than that celebrated date. Census: 1 in 65 Cameo, 1 finer (8/12).
    From The Nottingham Collection.(Registry values: P7) (PCGS# 87884)

    Weight: 4.18 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Nottingham Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    18th-21st Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,608

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