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    1852 Seated Quarter, PR65
    The Only Proof Available to Collectors
    Ex: Pittman-Kaufman

    1852 25C PR65 NGC. Briggs 1-A. The 1852 proof is not only one of the greatest rarities in the Seated quarter series, but also in the entirety of United States proof coinage. Only two examples are known, one of which has been unattainable housed in the American Numismatic Society since 1908, when it was donated by J.P. Morgan, who had originally acquired it from R.C.H. Brock. The other piece, pedigreed to the legendary Pittman Collection, is the only example of this extreme rarity that is theoretically obtainable, and therefore ranks among the most sought-after single coins in the entire Seated quarter series.

    The coin likely originated in the collection of Joseph J. Mickley as part of a six-piece 1852 silver proof set. In W. Elliot Woodward's 1867 sale of Mickley's collection, that set sold intact to William Lilliendahl at $65.00, and is then believed to have passed (possibly through unknown intermediaries) to Richard B. Winsor, who apparently added a cent and half cent to complete the denominations. The complete eight-piece set was sold intact in the Chapman brothers' 1895 sale of the Winsor Collection, where it was described as "Probably unique."

    Following the sale of the Winsor Collection, the individual silver and copper coins in the eight-piece set were broken up. In 1953, John Jay Pittman acquired the quarter privately from B. Max Mehl for $50.00, hardly a worthy sum for a coin that was and still is, unique in private hands. Later, however, in David Akers' May 1998 sale of the Pittman Collection, the coin was recognized as the incredible rarity that it was, and realized an impressive $176,000.

    In the Pittman catalog, David Akers heralded this piece as "an extraordinary coin with respect to both its extreme rarity and its superb quality." Gorgeous toning in shades of medium intensity reddish-gold and violet, accented with splashes of sky-blue, complement fully struck devices and deliver exceptional eye appeal. The date shows repunching on the 852, a diagnostic of this die pair, and several faint die striations are discernable in the fields upon close examination. A couple of stray, unobtrusive hairlines do not deny the impeccable preservation of the surfaces on each side. Struck mildly off-center toward 12 o'clock on the reverse.

    Many proof Seated quarter issues from this period are underappreciated in comparison to their immense rarity, although perhaps none so much as the 1852. It may be a great many years before this only collectible example is again offered publicly. Such an opportunity is almost as rare as the coin itself.

    Roster of 1852 Proof Quarters
    1. PR65 NGC. Richard B. Winsor Collection (Chapman Brothers, 12/1895), lot 1070, as part of a complete eight-piece proof set, which realized $115.00; acquired privately by John Jay Pittman from B. Max Mehl (4/1953); John Jay Pittman Collection (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1321; Pre-FUN Elite (Superior Galleries, 1/2004), lot 286; Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, Part Four / ANA Signature (Heritage, 7-8/2008), lot 1823; Greensboro III / Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2013), lot 4222; Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part II (Heritage, 10/2014), lot 98396. The present example.
    2. Proof. R.C.H. Brock; J.P. Morgan; American Numismatic Society.

    Additional Appearance
    A. Proof. Joseph J. Mickley Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1867), lot 1721, as part of six-piece proof set, to William Lilliendahl at $65.00. Likely the same as Winsor-Pittman above. (NGC ID# 23WF, PCGS# 5546)

    Weight: 6.68 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

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

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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