1844 Proof Quarter, PR65 With CAC Gold Label
1844 25C PR65 PCGS Secure. Gold CAC. Briggs 4-D. Ex:
Pittman-Kaufman. The date is higher than Briggs 1 or 2. The 8 is
recut at the top of the lower loop. The date logotype was likely
entered with a rocking motion, since the lowest relief is at the
centers. The 1 and 8 are each centered over a dentil. There are a
number of tiny spikes from the denticles into the field by the
11th, 12th, and 13th stars, along with some faint die polish lines
intermixed among a few unobtrusive hairlines in the reverse fields.
On the reverse, each of the vertical shield lines extends below the
shield and through three or more horizontal lines.
The Pittman-Kaufman-Gardner Coin
Sole Example Available
The rarity of the 1844 proof Seated quarter is attested to by the solitary example certified by either NGC or PCGS. This PCGS-graded PR65 coin with CAC gold label, is pedigreed to the John Jay Pittman and Phil Kaufman collections. This piece is also (and understandably) the CoinFacts plate coin for the issue.
Larry Briggs, in The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of United States Liberty Seated Quarters, says of the 1844 quarter that there are "approximately five proofs," and Walter Breen, in the Complete Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, also contends that there are "five proofs traced." He elaborates on them in the 1989 Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins, 1722-1989: (1) "Smithsonian Institution, from Mint." (2) "Ex Dr. Judd cased set." (3) "J.H. South: 507." (4) "LM 6/71: 717." (5) One other impaired piece seen years ago, but I have long since lost track of it."
We believe that the estimates by Breen and Briggs are clearly too high. David Akers presents a more complete discussion of the 1844 proof quarter in the Pittman Collection catalog of October 1997:
"This is the rarest silver denomination of the year in Proof with possibly only three examples known; other than the one reportedly in the Smithsonian Institution and the example in the Matthew Stickney original Proof set (Lot 1788 in the 1907 auction of his collection), I have not seen or heard of another. Breen's two other Proofs mentioned in his Encyclopedia are J.H. South: 507 and Lester Merkin 6/71: 717, the latter cataloged by Breen himself, but not really a Proof. If the South coin was a legitimate Proof, then there are four known, and, of course, it is always possible others exist. Still, this is one of the greatest rarities among all Liberty Seated Proof coins, comparable to the 1841 Dime and the 1840 and 1841 Quarters."
Aside from the appearances mentioned above, our search of auction records turns up no further examples. We emphasize that in the decades prior to the 1986 advent of third-party grading services, many coins that would today be described as prooflike were listed in catalogs as proofs.
The current (very) high-end Gem proof displays beautiful natural toning with a plethora of iridescent colors, including reddish-gold, cobalt-blue, and gold-beige, the palette slightly deeper on the obverse. The sharp proof strike has created uniformly full definition to every design feature; even the sandal and straps on Liberty's foot exhibit complete separation.
This piece, earlier offered in the Kaufman and Gardner collections in a PR66 NGC holder, is today in a PR65 PCGS holder with gold CAC label, as mentioned. It is not only extremely rare, it is the only one certified and likely the finest known. Since the Smithsonian example, if confirmed, will never reach the numismatic marketplace, the present coin may be the only example of the proof 1844 quarter ever available to collectors. Once it has sold, it may be decades before it -- or another specimen, if any are truly available -- appears again at auction.
Ex: Numismatic Gallery (4/1948); John Jay Pittman Collection (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 833, part of an original 10-piece proof set, half cent through gold eagle; Philip Kaufman Collection of Early Seated Proof Sets, Part Two / FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2008), lot 3025; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2009), lot 3764; Bay State Collection, Part Two (Heritage, 8/2009), lot 1086; Greensboro Collection, Part IV (Heritage, 8/2013), lot 5888; Eugene H. Gardner Collection / Gardner Part I Signature (Heritage, 6/2014), lot 30404, as PR66 NGC-CAC (green label), which brought $182,125; ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2015), lot 4033, as PCGS-CAC (gold label).(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 23W7, PCGS# 5538)
Weight: 6.68 grams
Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
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