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1926 Indian Head Quarter Eagle : A Collector’s Guide

1926 Indian Head Quarter Eagle. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1926 Indian Head Quarter Eagle. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

The Philadelphia Mint struck 446,000 Indian Head Quarter Eagles in 1926, a typical mintage for the $2.50 gold coin denomination. 1926 marked the 12th issue of the series. Of course, the Mint would stop production of the quarter eagle denomination after its 1929 emission.

Interestingly, the 1926 Indian Head Quarter Eagle is one of two quarter eagle designs struck this year; the other was a $2.50 gold commemorative coin issued to mark the Sesquicentennial of American Independence.

As for the Indian Head design, most Mint State coins are frosty and lustrous but will exhibit varying golden hues. The best examples are among the best-looking in the series. In his book United States Gold Coins: An Analysis of Auction Records, Volume II: Quarter Eagles 1796-1929 (1975), dealer David Akers ranked the issue as 13th out of 15 in terms of availability of coins in Gem grades, making the 1926 issue slightly scarcer than the 1925-D Indian Head Quarter Eagle but still very common.

How Much Is the 1926 Indian Head Quarter Eagle Worth?

1926 Indian Head Quarter Eagles are primarily collected in Mint State and command a premium over the prevailing spot price. In MS63, this premium can be as much as 100% to 120% over spot – which, based on a $2,300 USD spot price, would put a typical retail price for an example graded MS63 at about $580-$640.

Of course, the date becomes increasingly expensive as one looks for examples in Gem or better grades. PCGS and NGC have broken into the MS66+ grade band in recent years. We have only located one public auction of one of these coins, a PCGS MS66+, that brought a record $18,175.88 at a September 2023 GreatCollections sale. The prior record was $13,800, paid for PCGS MS66 (#6585419) in 2008. As you can see in the following table, that coin has had a rollercoaster ride, selling most recently for $5,291.03.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top Population: PCGS MS66+ (3, 4/2024). NGC MS66+ (2, 4/2024), and CAC MS66 (2:0 stickered:graded, 4/2024).

  • PCGS MS66+ #47959812: GreatCollections, September 10, 2023, Lot 944105 – $18,175.88.
  • PCGS MS66 #6590066: Stack’s Bowers, March 28, 2024, Lot 7477 – $9,000.
  • NGC MS66 #4629817-003: Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2024, Lot 4848 – $9,000.
  • PCGS MS66 #40273681: “The Bob R. Simpson Collection, Part IV,” Heritage Auctions, February 23, 2021, Lot 3097 – $6,900. Simpson novelty insert.
  • NGC MS66 #3643997-002: “The Woodward Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, March 2018, Lot 3746 – $5,760; Stack’s Bowers, August 17, 2018, Lot 4067 – $6,600.
  • PCGS MS66 #81630255: Heritage Auctions, October 3, 2016, Lot 3286 – $4,700. Curved mark above star 1. Scattered marks around IN GOD WE TRUST.
  • PCGS MS66 #6585419: Heritage Auctions, May 7, 2004, Lot 9322 – $8,050; Heritage Auctions, August 9, 2007, Lot 1864 – $11,500; Heritage Auctions, July 31, 2008, Lot 1915 – $13,800; “The Jim O’Neal Gold Type Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2012, Lot 4796 – $9,775; “The Leon Hendrickson Collection,” Heritage Auctions, December 3, 2015, Lot 3315 – $5,291.03.
  • NGC MS66 #3809074-006: Heritage Auctions, June 4, 2015, Lot 4211 – $6,462.50. There is an orange copper spot at the top of star 2.
  • NGC MS66 #3809074-005: Heritage Auctions, June 4, 2015, Lot 4212 – $5,875. There is an orange copper spot on the headdress and two in front of the face.
  • PCGS MS66 #50021022: Heritage Auctions, January 9, 2015, Lot 6962 – $5,875.
  • PCGS MS66 #06633473: Heritage Auctions, December 4, 2014, Lot 3746 – $8,812.50.
  • NGC MS66 #1893103-006: Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2014, Lot 6522 – $8,812.50.
  • PCGS MS66 #25057405: Heritage Auctions, March 22, 2013, Lot 4185 – $11,750.
  • PCGS MS66 #13174778: “The Madison Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2008, Lot 3110 – $12,650; “The Shrike Set of $2 1/2 Indians,” Heritage Auctions, September 9, 2011, Lot 4257 – $11,212.50. Reholdered. The Shrike Set on insert.
  • PCGS MS66 #06666487: Heritage Auctions, August 11, 2010, Lot 3449 – $10,350.
  • PCGS MS66 #21893052: “The Atherton Family Collection, Part Two,” Heritage Auctions, March 26, 2010, Lot 2193 – $10,925.
  • PCGS MS66 #06722776: Heritage Auctions, February 5, 2010, Lot 1525 – $11,500.
  • PCGS MS66 #21183046: “The H.R. Luchs Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 14, 2005, Lot 8737 – $9,775.
  • PCGS MS66 #30016526: Heritage Auctions, September 27, 2002, Lot 8068 – $5,750.

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Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1926
Denomination: Two Dollars and 50 Cents (USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 446,000
Alloy: .900 Gold, .100 Copper
Weight: 4.18 g
Diameter: 18.00 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Bela Lyon Pratt
REV Designer: Bela Lyon Pratt
Quality: Business Strike

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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