By CoinWeek ….
At GreatCollections on Sunday, December 6, bidding ends for this 1853 No Arrows Seated Liberty quarter, graded MS-66 by PCGS and approved by CAC. This piece was also part of the famed Eliasberg Collection.
The honor of top pop 1853 No Arrows quarter at PCGS goes to a pair of quarters graded MS-67+, but there are only eight examples graded MS-66, as well as a solitary MS-67. These condition rarities are five-figure coins, with recent auction results averaging around $13,000 USD. In December 2019, another example sold for $17,038. In October 2015, a different specimen garnered $19,975; nine years earlier in February 2006, this same coin went for $17,250. Going back to the 20th century, an MS-66 No Arrows 1853 sold for $8,250 in April 1999.
It is obvious that demand for this coin has doubled and then some over the last two decades. At the time of writing, the high bid for this No Arrows 1853 Seated Liberty quarter is $9,850 after a total of 30 bids.
For more auction results, you can search through the GreatCollections Auction Archives, with records for over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past seven years.
A Brief History of the Seated Liberty Quarter
The Seated Liberty design was created by Christian Gobrecht, who would go on to become the third Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1840 through 1844. Gobrecht’s Liberty Seated motif was first seen in 1836 on the silver dollar, and in 1837 on the half dime and dime. The design was first applied to the quarter in 1838, though that date also saw the release of quarters of the previous Capped Bust type. These first Seated quarters minted in 1838 feature stars, as do the first Seated half dollars produced in 1839.
Robert Ball Hughes, a sculptor originally from London, was hired in late 1840 to make modifications to Liberty on the Seated Liberty design. Along with other changes, Hughes added extra drapery that extended from Liberty’s left elbow down over her knee.
The weight of the quarter coins was reduced in 1853 and to delineate the lighter quarters, arrows were added to either side of the date and rays were introduced around the eagle on the reverse. As such, there were No Arrows and With Arrows types issued in 1853. The arrows were dropped after the 1855 release, and the rays appear only on the 1853 With Arrows issue.
In 1866, the Mint added the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST to the reverse.
The weight of the quarter was increased in 1873 and so another With Arrows type was issued in both that year and 1874, after which the arrows were dropped again. The series continued with motto and without arrows–but with the new weight standard–until 1891. The Barber quarter replaced the Seated Liberty design on the denomination in 1892.
The obverse of the Seated Liberty dollar features Lady Liberty sitting on a rock in flowing robes, her head turned over her shoulder to the viewer’s left. Her left arm is bent, her raised hand holding a liberty pole with a cap. Her right arm is extended downward at her side, with her right hand balancing a shield across which the word Liberty is displayed in a curving banner. Thirteen six-pointed stars surround Liberty inside a denticled rim, with seven on the left side, one between Liberty’s head and the cap, and the remaining five along the right. The date is centered at the bottom between the base of the rock and the rim.
The coin on offer here features an extra bit of drapery between Liberty’s left elbow and knee and so is an example of the “Drapery from Elbow” variety.
On the reverse, an eagle is prominently displayed inside a denticled rim. The eagle’s wings are partially spread but folded downward at the joint as if the bird has just landed or is about to fly away. Its right claw (viewer’s left) holds an olive branch, the eternal symbol of peace, while its left claw clutches three arrows. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles the top two-thirds of the coin inside the rim and over the eagle’s head. The denomination QUAR.DOL. is cradled at the bottom rim.
The edge is reeded.