Proof-Only 1863 Quarter Eagle, PR64--Ex: Bass1863 $2 1/2 PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS. Ex: Bass. Along with the 1854-S, the 1841 "Little Princess," and the 1804 13 star, the 1863 is one of the most famous and infrequently seen of all quarter eagles. The key to understanding this issue is that no business strikes were produced. So, a date run of Coronet quarter eagles must include a proof 1863. Only 30 proofs were struck, and the source for this mintage figure is the highly reliable W. Elliot Woodward, who in his catalog of the John F. McCoy Collection noted, "Of the quarter eagle of 1863, I have positive knowledge that only 30 pieces were struck; hence the coin is now one of the rarest in the series. I am also assured that the $3 piece is scarcely less rare." Of the original mintage of only 30 pieces, it is believed that today only 15-20 may still exist in all grades. This is one of the finest known with only one other Deep Cameo PR64 certified and one piece is finer, a PCGS PR65.
This is a sparkling piece of proof gold that has unfathomably deep mirrors in the fields. The devices are heavily frosted and produce a strong two-toned contrast on each side. The surfaces have a slightly reddish cast with a deeper splash of reddish patina on the lower reverse rim. Magnification reveals a few small contact marks, the easiest to see being in the field out from stars 1 and 2, and a curved lint mark by star 4. Absolute rarity, condition rarity, and sheer beauty are all combined in this one extraordinary gold coin.
Acquired by Harry Bass from Leo Young at an unspecified date; Bass III (Bowers and Merena, 5/00), lot 208, where it brought $39,100. (#97889) (Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 287H, PCGS# 97889)
Weight: 4.18 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
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