By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
In 1820, a quarter dollar was the typical cost for attending theatrical events and similar entertainments in New York City, events that today might cost tens or even hundreds of dollars. Alongside the half dollar, the quarter was a workhorse of everyday commerce and most examples that left the United States Mint wound up heavily worn within a few years.
Stack’s Bowers Galleries is delighted to offer one of the most spectacular 1820 Capped Bust quarters in our March 2021 Las Vegas Auction. Graded MS-66 (NGC), it ranks as the sole finest known of the 1820 Browning-4 variety. Delightful golden-tan patina dominates this Gem, revealing vibrant splashes of olive-gold and turquoise-blue iridescence around the design elements. The eye appeal is strong, and the surfaces are lovely, even under a glass. A light prooflike shimmer is noted in the field contrasting with more satiny luster on the devices.
This quarter offers a provenance that can be traced to some of the most prominent numismatists of the past century. It was purchased privately by John M. Clapp from the Chapman brothers in January 1900 and was later sold to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. as part of the Clapp Estate in 1942. We first offered this piece in our April 1997 sale of the Eliasberg Collection, where it was recognized for its “Condition Census Quality” and “strong, mirrored fields.” More recently, it was included in the magnificent collection of Eugene H. Gardner, a further testament to its superior quality.
It sits at the top of the Condition Census by a clear margin, ranked at CC#1 by both the Tompkins (2008) and Rea-Koenings-Haroutunian (2010) censuses. It ranks above even the Proof from the Norweb Collection graded PF-64 (PCGS) and the historic Newman specimen now graded MS-64 (PCGS). Within the wider 1820 Small O issue this example is notably tied with the MS-66 (PCGS) B-5 from the Pogue Collection.
This incredible MS-66 (NGC) 1820 quarter will be featured in our March 2021 Las Vegas Auction, accompanied by many important coins including Small Eagle Draped Bust half dollars from the E. Horatio Morgan Collection, spectacular Peace dollars from the Pittstown Collection, and New Orleans Mint rarities from the Collection of Steve Studer. The sale will be available for viewing and bidding on our website www.StacksBowers.com and printed catalogs will also be available for purchase.
If you would like to consign to an upcoming sale or have questions about the consignment process, please contact us today at Consign@StacksBowers.com or 800-566-2580.