1855-S Seated Liberty Quarter, PR64
    Unique Branch Mint Proof, A Numismatic Masterpiece
    Believed To Be the First San Francisco Mint Quarter

    1855-S 25C Arrows PR64 NGC. CAC. Ex: Golden Gate Collection. A provenance dating back to the time of issue heightens the historical importance of this numismatic masterpiece, the unique proof 1855-S quarter dollar, believed to be the first quarter dollar minted in San Francisco. Nearly everyone who has handled this specimen has stated that it is unique, and indeed, it appears to be a one-of-a-kind item. This is only its seventh auction appearance since 1886, and it is believed to be the piece that San Francisco Mint Superintendent Robert Aiken Birdsall preserved in 1855.
    Every aspect of the strike is full, save for slight weakness on some border dentils. Liberty's head and foot are both complete, with bold horizontal and vertical shield lines on the obverse. Similarly, the reverse has complete details throughout, including sharp claws and bold feather details. The surfaces are light ivory with splashes of delicate gold and pale blue toning. Both sides are nicely mirrored with satiny devices and reflective fields. Those fields are less deeply mirrored than on Philadelphia proofs, but far beyond any accidental creation through mere die polishing. The fields and devices meet crisply and concisely, without any blurring or merging of the details. Representing the Briggs 1-A die marriage, both dies are new with no signs of deterioration, further supporting the "first quarter dollar minted" tradition.
    In the August 1998 Rarities Sale, Q. David Bowers provided notes about William W. Long. He operated the "Museum Hotel" in Philadelphia during the 1850s and issued his own tokens that advertised a variety of entertainment options, such as a pistol and rifle gallery, billiards, bowling, bagatelle, and shuffleboard, as well as liquors, oysters, segars [sic], a refectory, and a museum. Items from his museum were offered in two auctions held by Moses Thomas & Sons in the 1880s.
    In their 1965 sale of the Grant Pierce Collection, Stack's called this quarter dollar "one of the most interesting pieces of Americana sold in this century." We agree today, and further consider this offering to be one of the most historically important numismatic items from the San Francisco Mint.
    Ex: Robert Aiken Birdsall, San Francisco Mint Superintendent; W.W. Long Museum (Philadelphia); Dr. Edward Maris (H.P. Smith, 6/1886); Grant Pierce Collection (Stack's, 5/1965), lot 655; Donald Groves Collection (Stack's, 11/1974), lot 440; Auction '86 (Paramount, 7/1986), lot 1615; The Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/1998), lot 179; Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 3/2005), lot 1524. (NGC ID# 269F, PCGS# 5562)

    Weight: 6.22 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
    August, 2011
    11th-14th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
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