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    Description

    Lustrous MS67 1853 Arrows and Rays Quarter

    1853 25C Arrows and Rays MS67 NGC. For several years leading up to 1853, few U.S. silver coins remained in circulation, because they were worth more melted than in their coined form. The root cause for this was the immense discoveries of gold in California that lowered the market price of gold in terms of silver. As described by Walter Breen in his Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, this "...eventually (led) to a point where bullion dealers found they could make 'endless chain' profits by melting down silver coins bought for face value and reselling the silver. All of the mints' output of silver vanished into hoarders' hands, and most of it went to bullion dealers; less and less silver reached the Mint for coinage, reflected in the diminishing mintages of 1850-52."
    The Act of February 21, 1853, reduced the weight of silver coins to a figure that would eliminate bullion dealers' profits and thus discourage further melting. The Act authorized the coinage of quarters at 96 grains compared with the former 103 1/8 grains. Mint Director George Eckert realized that the new coins had to have an identifying mark to distinguish them from earlier ones. For the quarter (and half dollar as well), he placed arrows at each side of the date, with rays behind the eagle. (The dimes and half dimes included only the arrows.) This design format (for the quarters and half dollars) lasted only one year, with a reminder of the reduced weight carried on through 1855 with arrowheads only. More than 15 million quarters were struck of the Arrows and Rays design and they were a smashing success. One Philadelphia paper reported that the Mint had "fully overcome the complaint among the small dealers of a want of change." The new coins served their purpose excellently. For the first time since the establishment of the Mint in 1793, the nation had an adequate supply of fractional coins of uniform quality.
    This particular piece is one of the finest examples extant of this one-year type; NGC and PCGS have certified a mere five specimens, and none higher. All too often found with heavily toned surfaces, this is a brilliant coin with silky-smooth, satin-like mint luster. Impressively struck throughout, each side is nearly abrasion-free; small marks on Liberty's cheek and on the right (left facing) shoulder serve as pedigree markers. Die polish lines are evident on both sides, especially on the obverse. Census: 3 in 67, 0 finer (1/08).
    From The Southwest Collection.(Registry values: P5)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 23U4, PCGS# 5426)

    Weight: 6.22 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper


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

    View all of [The Southwest Collection ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,872

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