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    Description

    1896 Quarter Eagle, PR68 Ultra Cameo
    None Numerically Finer
    Ex: Pittman

    1896 $2 1/2 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC. A reported mintage of 132 proof Liberty quarter eagles was accomplished in 1896, larger than in previous years but smaller than any later proof mintage for the series. The PCGS CoinFacts website estimates 60-80 examples survive in all grades today, a reasonable estimate, given the average survival rate for proofs of this vintage. It is possible that some coins remained unsold and were melted after the close of the year. It also seems likely that a few pieces were spent by their owners during hard times in the late 19th and early 20th century, when gold proofs commanded only marginal premiums when offered publicly. Several examples are in institutional collections today, including three in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

    Proof quarter eagles of 1896 are known for their high technical quality and tremendous eye appeal, but this coin stands out, even in such a well-produced issue. This coin traces its history to the fabulous John Jay Pittman Collection, a mark of distinction for any coin. Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth singled out this piece for special mention in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933:

    "A few truly superb examples are known, and three have been graded at the PF-68 level. The finest coin the authors have seen of this issue was the amazing John J. Pittman example that sold for $46,750 in 1998."



    The many virtues of this coin completely justify such a high evaluation. Razor-sharp detail is evident on all design elements and the copper-gold surfaces are impeccably preserved. The devices are richly frosted, creating stunning cameo contrast with the deeply mirrored fields when the coin is tilted in the light. A microscopic planchet flaw above the highest leaf on the reverse acts as a pedigree marker. This combination of absolute rarity, incredible eye appeal, and illustrious pedigree is seldom available. The discerning collector should bid accordingly. Census: 4 in 68 Ultra Cameo (2 in 68 Ultra Cameo), 0 finer (3/15).
    Ex: Thomas Melish Collection (Abe Kosoff, 4/1956), lot 1320; John Jay Pittman; Pittman Collection, Part II (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1858.(Registry values: P2)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 288K, PCGS# 97922)

    Weight: 4.18 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 920

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