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    1842 Small Date Quarter, PR65
    Classic American Silver Rarity
    Ex: Jerome Kern, Louis Eliasberg
    Second-Finest of Five Available

    1842 25C Small Date PR65 PCGS. Briggs 1-A. Ex: Eliasberg. The fields are glassy and deeply mirrored on this Gem proof 1842 Small Date quarter, one of the classic rarities in American silver coinage. Each side shows speckled russet, golden, and magenta toning. A few small contact marks appear on each side, but the most important pedigree identifiers are the configuration of the toning and a tiny planchet flake in the obverse field just above the left (facing) shoulder of Liberty.

    Variety: Small Date. Briggs 1-A. The digits are far smaller than those used on the circulation-strike Seated quarters of the year, and the Small Date variant is known only in proof format. The proof Seated quarters of 1842 are also seen with the Large Date format used as well for circulation strikes.

    Population Data (7/14): PCGS reports this sole PR65 and none others in any grade. NGC shows one PR66 and one PR64 Cameo, both accounted for in the roster below.

    Heritage Commentary: The 1842 Small Date quarter is one of the greatest of all silver rarities in American numismatics. It has a distinct date logotype, far smaller than the large digits used for business strikes, and is only available in proof format. The roster presents seven examples, of which two reside permanently in museum collections, leaving a maximum of only five coins available for collectors.

    Apparently the Small Date logotype was used early in the year and quickly abandoned as too small, thus explaining the rarity of the 1842-O quarter and half dollar as well (which also used a Small Date punch). While it is possible that this date variant may have been known to earlier collectors, no examples were sold at public auction prior to the 1893 Fixed Price List #39 by Charles Steigerwalt.

    This impressively pedigreed example -- before the Gardner Collection, the present coin was earlier in the collections of famous American composer Jerome Kern and numismatic completist extraordinaire Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. -- is undoubtedly one of the finest examples known and has dwelled in few collections over the past 94 years. This is an opportunity for the serious collector to acquire a coin rarely offered at public auction or by private treaty. Most collectors have never seen this rare type, and we strongly encourage any advanced collector or dealer to at least view this lot so they may say they have actually laid eyes on such an important rarity.

    About Jerome Kern (1885-1945): Many Americans today may be unfamiliar with the name Jerome Kern unless they are aficionados of Broadway musicals and Hollywood musical films -- but they have certainly heard his music. Among the hundreds of songs that Broadway composer Kern wrote, some of the most famous and enduring are from his classic Show Boat score, including "Ol' Man River" and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man of Mine." Other celebrated Kern songs include "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "All the Things You Are," "Make Believe" and "Long Ago and Far Away."

    Kern was only 60 years of age when he suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage at the corner of Park Avenue and 57th Street in New York on November 5. 1945, apparently on his way to visit the Numismatic Gallery offices of Abe Kosoff and Abner Kreisberg in order to view the coins of F.C.C. Boyd (billed as the World's Greatest Collection), scheduled to be sold shortly afterward. Kern was involved in the fall of that year with a revival of Show Boat and composing the score of Annie Get Your Gun with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. After Kern's death, veteran songwriter Irving Berlin completed the score. Hammerstein was at Kern's beside in Doctors Hospital in Manhattan when he died.

    Roster of 1842 Small Date Quarters
    Updated from the 2008 appearance of the Phil Kaufman coin.

    1. PR66 NGC. Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1516.
    2. PR65 PCGS. The present example. Harlan P. Smith Collection (Chapman Brothers, 1906), a tentative pedigree adapted by Q. David Bowers from Walter Breen; Jerome Kern Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1950), lot 1432; Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1428; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 7/2002), lot 210; Greensboro Collection, Part IV / Central States Signature (Heritage, 8/2013), lot 5587.

    The Eliasberg catalogers wrote, in part:

    "It is apparent that the population of the 1842 Small Date quarter ranks it as one of the greatest of all American classic silver rarities. The precise number is not certain, but a reasonable estimate would be from five to seven, two of which are permanently impounded in museums (Smithsonian and American Numismatic Society).

    "It is worth noting that among members of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club who responded to a survey conducted in 1993 by Larry Briggs, only one specimen was owned. Perhaps no better testimony to the rarity and desirability of the coin could be imagined (cf. the March 1994 number of The Gobrecht Journal)."

    3. PR64 Cameo NGC. Century Sale (Paramount, 4/1965), lot 872; R.L. Miles (Stack's, 4/1969), lot 39; Robison Collection (Stack's, 2/1982), lot 1304; Auction '86 (RARCOA, 7/1986), lot 597; August Sale (Mid-American Rare Coin, 8/1987), lot 332; Stanley Simon Type Collection of United States Coins (Stack's, 1/1989), lot 432; Philip Kaufman Collection / Rosemont Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2380.

    4. PR63. Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 3/1988), lot 1572; Somerset Collection (Bowers and Merena, 5/1992), lot 1179.
    5. Brilliant Proof. James A. Stack Collection (Stack's, 3/1975), lot 55; ANA Sale (Bowers and Ruddy, 8/1978), lot 731; Reed Hawn Collection (Stack's, 10/1993), lot 389.
    6. Proof. American Numismatic Society Collection.
    7. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.(Registry values: P6)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 23W5, PCGS# 5536)

    Weight: 6.68 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

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

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2014
    27th Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,738

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