1870 Quarter Eagle, PR65
    Eye-Appealing and Conditionally Rare

    1870 $2 1/2 PR65 PCGS. CAC. Another in the string of remarkable rarities from this superb consignment, the present Gem proof 1870 quarter eagle is the sole finest certified at PCGS with non-Cameo surfaces, tied numerically with a single PR65 Deep Cameo (8/12). Amazingly, only four submissions appear for the 1870 quarter eagle proof in all unimpaired grades, the other two both PR64 non-Cameo examples. PCGS has also seen two proofs that it graded PR58, i.e. lightly circulated examples.
    The situation is similar at NGC, which has also seen four submissions in all unimpaired grades: one in 60, one each in 61 Cameo and 66 Cameo, and one in 66 Ultra Cameo. Given the total of eight submissions at both services combined, we would be surprised if a dozen examples of the issue survive to this day.
    What factors combine to make the proof 1870 quarter eagles so rare? The mintage is one obvious starting point, a recorded 35 pieces, but the Mint may not have sold all of those coins during the Reconstruction Era, quietly melting them as unsold at year-end. The meager mintage of circulation strikes was only 4,520 pieces, as well. The presence of a couple of lightly circulated proofs in the certified populations points up another factor -- attrition -- that is always a factor in proof gold from more than 140 years ago. Perhaps some other examples were spent and not recovered from circulation, until they became so worn as to be unrecognizable today.
    This Gem offers moderate field-device contrast on deep orange-colored surfaces, not quite at the Cameo level but still perceptible and extremely attractive. Lovely lilac accents appear on Liberty's neck and the interstices of the coronet around LIBERTY. The reverse shows similar colors, orange and gold with lilac glints around the eagle. The eye appeal and conditional rarity are equally compelling.
    From The Nottingham Collection.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 7K7X, PCGS# 7896)

    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
    October, 2012
    18th-21st Thursday-Sunday
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