1873 Arrows Quarter, Remarkable PR68 Cameo
1873 25C Arrows PR68 Cameo NGC. Briggs 5-D. This piece is
essentially immaculate, free from any visible post-Mint contact
marks and showing surfaces that are fully struck over both sides.
Original patina transitions from pinkish-gold in the centers
through lilac to cobalt-blue near the rims, and ample mint frost
ensures contrast with the reflective fields. An interesting raised
mark on the left (facing) shield border is clearly something that
was struck into the die before this coin was made, and thus is
non-grade-affecting -- perhaps a survey of other proof survivors
would narrow down the number showing this anomaly.
Tied for Finest Cameo Certified
Variety: Briggs 5-D, the only die pairing for proofs.
Population Data (7/14): The present example in the incredible grade of PR68 Cameo is one of only three at this numeric grade level at both services. The only coin that might be considered technically finer is a single non-Cameo PR68 ★ . No PR68s of any contrast level have been certified at PCGS.
Heritage Commentary: The 1873 No Arrows quarters proofs were of the Closed 3 style, but the Arrows design, coming later in the year, also showed the updated Open 3 style with the 3 less resembling a final 8. The year 1873 was probably that which saw the most sweeping changes ever in U.S. coinage, called by many the "Crime of '73." The new regime included elimination of the two cent, silver half dime, three cent silver, and Seated dollar denominations, introduction of the Trade dollar, and the slight weight increase of all remaining silver coinage denominations under a dollar to even metric weights -- a questionable disproportionality that ensured the new Trade dollars would not circulate domestically, being overvalued by almost 9% compared to two silver half dollars.
Walter Breen's Proof Encyclopedia numbers the proof mintage of the Arrows quarters at 540 pieces -- 500 for the silver proof sets, with 40 extra coins struck later in the year for unspecified reasons.
Provenance: West Palm Beach Summer FUN Signature (Heritage, 6/2008), lot 852.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 23XR, PCGS# 85574)
Weight: 6.25 grams
Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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