1849 Quarter, Fully Struck PR66
1849 25C PR66 PCGS. CAC. Briggs 4-C, R.7 as a proof. This
delightful Premium Gem proof is fully detailed, showing bold star
radials, fine detail in the eagle's feathers, and razor-sharp
definition on Liberty's drapery. The edges are square, and a wire
rim shows on both sides. The impeccably preserved surfaces display
spectacular shades of iridescent blue, violet, and gold toning. A
few die polish lines are evident on close inspection, but no
mentionable post-strike distractions can be detected. The fields
are deeply reflective under the patina, and the eye appeal is
Spectacular Example, Ex: Pittman-Gardner
Tied for Finest Known
Proofs were struck from the Briggs 4-C dies, displaying the date sloping down left to right on the obverse and all vertical lines in the shield extending up into the horizontal lines at the top on the reverse. The reverse die was also used to strike proofs in 1846, 1847, and 1848. PCGS CoinFacts estimates three to five examples of the 1849 proof Seated Liberty quarter survive in all grades. PCGS has recorded five certification events, with this coin tied with one other PR66 specimen for finest certified (7/15). NGC has graded three examples, with a single PR66 finest, but we believe that coin has been crossed over and is now in a PR65 PCGS holder.
Like all pre-1858 proof issues, the mintage of proof quarters was extremely small in 1849. Walter Breen reported that the 1849 proof quarter was the "rarest denomination of this difficult date," and he listed only three examples in his Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins. Larry Briggs estimated the surviving population at a meager three-plus pieces, all told. When David Akers cataloged the present coin in the John Jay Pittman Collection in 1998, he expanded the roster of known specimens to five examples. We have studied the history of this issue extensively, but our roster below still consists of only five separate coins, with a number of early appearances that may or may not represent the coins in the primary roster.
Heritage Auctions has offered an example of the 1849 proof Seated Liberty quarter on just six occasions in the past, representing only three different coins. This magnificent specimen from the Pittman and Gardner collections has realistic claims to the title of "Finest Known." Advanced specialists and Registry Set enthusiasts should bid accordingly.
1849 Proof Seated Liberty Quarter Roster
Besides the coins below, our Gardner roster presents a more-complete list of early appearances, which see for more information.
1. PR66 PCGS. Ruth Green; purchased privately on 10/11/1949 by John Jay Pittman; Pittman Collection, Part II (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1315; Eugene Gardner Collection, Part III (Heritage, 5/2015), lot 98376, which brought $47,000. The present coin.
2. PR66 PCGS. William Dickinson Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 3/1894), per the Eliasberg catalog, but the only 1849 quarter in that sale was graded Very Fine, suggesting the Clapps may have upgraded their coin at a later date; J.M. Clapp; J.H. Clapp; Clapp estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; Eliasberg Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 1445; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/1999), lot 5915.
3. PR65 PCGS. J. Colvin Randall Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 6/1885), lot 623; T. Harrison Garrett; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection (Stack's, 3/1976), lot 160; Kenneth C. Long Estate (Bowers and Merena, 5/1995), lot 1089; 65th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/2000), lot 709; Phil Kaufman Collection, Part III (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2390; Greensboro Collection, Part III (Heritage, 4/2013), lot 4221; Orlando Signature (Heritage, 7/2013), lot 3128; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2014), lot 5219.
4. PR65/64. Thomas Elder; purchased privately by Albert Holden for $4.50; Emery May Holden Norweb; Norweb Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 3/1988), lot 1585.
5. PR63 PCGS. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/1998), lot 6781.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 23WC, PCGS# 5543)
Weight: 6.68 grams
Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
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