Currently listed for auction at GreatCollections is one of the finest Proof 1912 $2.50 quarter eagle gold coins available. Collectors should be aware of this exciting opportunity to bid on an extreme conditional rarity graded as PR 67+ by PCGS and approved by CAC with a green sticker. While the 1912 Matte Proof finish piece is comparatively common for this type, only one piece is graded higher. Bidding on this spectacular coin ends Sunday, August 7, 2022, at 7:21:28 PM Pacific Time (10:21 PM Eastern).
At the time of publication, the highest of 56 bids stands at $43,534.00 USD and has three days remaining.
While the Philadelphia Mint originally struck 197 Proof quarter eagles in 1912, it is estimated that due to circulation loss and deliberate melting by the Treasury Department, only between 90 and 110 examples survive. This makes the 1912 proof a rare and difficult variety to acquire, especially in high grades.
As part of its experimentation with new coin designs, the United States Mint used several different types of Proof finish on the Indian Head quarter eagles. In the first year of issue (1908), the coins displayed a sandblasted matte finish. The public did not approve, and the Mint quickly adjusted. In 1909 and 1910, the Mint employed what they termed a “Roman” finish, which was similar to a standard Proof finish. The Mint reverted to a matte finish in 1911, but unlike the earlier types, this smooth matte finish was created using extremely fine-grained sand, resulting in a much softer finish than the first type.
As with all 1912 quarter eagles, this particular coin displays the third type of finish.
The 1911 Proof quarter eagle has gained a reputation for being plentiful in Gem condition. In fact, while the official population is most likely full of duplications, nearly 70% of the graded and certified population are considered to be MS65 or better. This particular coin is nearly the best example available for collectors. The nearly perfect surfaces demonstrate the Mint’s early mastery of the sandblasting Matte Proof technique. With an extremely light orange and purple patina, the coin’s unbroken mint luster creates one of the most attractive examples of the type.
This particular coin was sold two years ago in a January 2020 Sale for a high bid of $78,000.
As the first and only incuse US coin design, the Indian Head obverse is set into the surface of the coin instead of standing proud. The design is centered around a life-like portrayal of Chief Hollow Horn Bear of the Sioux. As a departure from the previous depictions of anglicized Native American figures on US coins, this is the first realistic Native American chief depicted on US coinage. The left-facing bust is depicted wearing a traditional feathered headdress. The designer’s initials–BLP, for Bela Lyon Pratt–found just above the date. Filling almost the entire obverse field, the bust is flanked by 13 five-pointed stars representing the 13 original US colonies.
At the top of the design is the legend “LIBERTY” and at the bottom is the date (1912). In between the date and bottom of the bust are the designers’ initials (BLP).
The quarter eagle reverse features a bald eagle perched with folded wings holding a stylized bundle of arrows wrapped with an olive branch in its talons. The eagle was based on the reverse of Theodore Roosevelt’s Inaugural Medal designed by Pratt’s mentor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
The denomination (2 ½ DOLLARS) is directly below the arrows, and the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is above. The Eagle is flanked by the mottos IN GOD WE TRUST on the right field and E PLURIBUS UNUM in the left field.
The 1912 quarter eagle’s edge is reeded.
Bidding ends on Sunday, August 7, 2022, at 7:21:28 PM Pacific Time (10:21 Eastern).
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