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    1865 Seated Quarter, PR68 ★ Cameo
    Tied for Finest, Sole Star-Designated Example

    1865 25C PR68 ★ Cameo NGC. CAC. The last of the Eric P. Newman proof Seated quarters from the Civil War years, the 1865, is certified PR68 Cameo by NGC, another example of the immaculate quality of the collection. This issue is unlikely to reappear at auction in such a grade for many years.

    The usual Mint practice during the decades immediately following 1858, when it first began publicly marketing proofs to collectors, was to produce a quota of proofs, whether singly or for complete sets, to have them on hand as orders came in from collectors. Those mintages were reported in the annual Mint records.

    What went unreported, however, was the number of proof coins that remained unsold at the end of the year, coins consigned to the melting pots, their metal reused for later coinage.

    The situation with proofs at the Mint during the late 1850s-1860s was, therefore, similar to what happened during the "classic commemorative" years of 1892-1954, when the Mint would routinely strike many more of the various commemorative issues, usually some "authorized number," and most of those coins would be melted later. Thus the Guide Book, for commemorative issues, reports "distribution" rather than "mintage" figures. The difference was that the Mint did not record the numbers of early proof coins melted.

    In any case, during the Civil War, collecting modern-issue proof coins was far from the minds of most numismatists. After the horrors of Shiloh, Stones River, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga in 1862-63, the prospect of a long, bloody domestic conflict loomed large in the American psyche. The fearful response of the American populace was to hoard domestic coinage; banks had suspended payouts of gold and silver in December 1861. By the summer of 1862, gold, silver, and even copper Federal coinage had disappeared from commerce.

    The mintage of circulation-strike 1865 quarter was minuscule, at 58,800 pieces, complemented by a reported 500 proofs. How many were melted is unknown.

    The 1865 Seated quarter is scarce in all circulated grades, although some Mint State pieces are known with prooflike surfaces. For proofs, NGC has seen four submissions at the PR68 grade level: two in PR68, one in PR68 Cameo, and the present PR68 Cameo piece from the Newman Collection. The finest at PCGS are a handful of PR67 Cameos (10/13). As on the other Newman Seated quarters from this era, this piece shows deeper toning on the obverse, amber-gold in the center moving into concentric aqua and purple-charcoal near the rim. The reverse shows a larger golden center with purple and ice-blue near the rims. The surfaces, strike, and preservation are all impeccable, and the eye appeal is stunning.
    Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 23WT, PCGS# 85561)

    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 Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2013
    15th-16th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 953

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    Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman (softcover)
    A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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