By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Few American rarities have been so carefully documented and studied for provenance as the 1823/2 Capped Bust quarters. The rarity of this date was already legendary by the time Montroville W. Dickeson wrote his 1859 American Numismatical Manual, where he pronounced this date “extremely rare.” In 1883, Harold P. Newlin posited that the four rarest U.S. silver coins were the 1802 half dime, the quarters of 1823 (all of which are 1823/2) and 1827, and the 1804 dollar, helping to contextualize the truly elusive nature of this issue.
Thirty-one discrete specimens have been documented, and a few more are assumed to exist in old-time collections or unexamined institutional holdings, yielding about 35. The Smithsonian Institution and the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Nebraska both own well-worn specimens. More than half of the known survivors are in grades below Very Fine, most quite worn, a few damaged, even one famously repaired to remove graffiti.
Featured in our June 2020 Santa Ana Auction is an EF-45 (PCGS) 1823/2 quarter that is appearing on the market for the first time in over 85 years. The obverse is pearly silver-gray with a dusting of pinkish-bronze near the borders. It is uniformly sharp with full denticles at the rim and centrils visible on every star. A minor blemish at the edge between stars 5 and 6 serves as a pedigree marker. The reverse is evenly toned in peach and golden iridescence, with hints of pearly luster in the fields surrounding the eagle. Trivial mint-made planchet streaks show around the eagle’s head including a prominent streak through the B of PLURIBUS, and will help with pedigree tracing.
The present coin is very significant in the context of this incredibly rare issue. It was ranked as CC#8 in the exhaustive 2010 census by Rory Rea, et al., with an estimated grade of EF-40.
At the current grade of EF-45 (PCGS), it is tied as the fourth finest certified by PCGS, with the AU-58+ Brand-Gardner-Link coin at the top of this population. No examples are currently graded in Mint State by PCGS or NGC, and the Newcomer-Miles-Hawn specimen has been graded Proof-64 (PCGS).
This piece was illustrated as a plate coin in the seminal 1925 reference The Early Quarter Dollars of the United States 1796-1838 by Ard W. Browning. It can be traced back to George S. Seavey circa 1873, and next it appeared in the legendary June 1890 sale of the Lorin G. Parmelee Collection. Plated in lot 947 and sold for $132, it was described as “excelled by only one specimen” and “exceedingly rare.” It then appeared a few times in the early 20th century, first at the January 1914 ANS exhibit and then in in the Waldo C. Newcomer Collection, as advertised by B. Max Mehl in the March 1932 issues of The Numismatist. It last appeared publicly over 85 years ago in Louis R. Hemmer’s Premium List of May 1935 and has been held privately since. While not technically a “new” discovery, this offering is certainly an exciting re-discovery from the early quarter series.
This historic EF-45 (PCGS) 1823/2 quarter will be sold in our June 18-19, 2020 Auction, which will also offer Vermont coppers from the Q. David Bowers Collection, the Francesca Collection of U.S. Gold Coins, The Dazzling Rarities Collection, and many other rarities. The sale will be available for bidding and viewing on our website www.StacksBowers.com or you may contact us to secure a copy of the printed catalog. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our auctions via your Android or Apple device.
New Dates for Next Hong Kong Auction
Fresh off the success of their monumental 10th Anniversary Hong Kong auction earlier this month, Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio has finalized new dates for their next sale focused on Chinese and other regional rarities. Previously slated for August 17-20 in conjunction with the Hong Kong Coin Show (HKCS), this auction will now take place October 5-8, 2020 and be held at the Mira Hotel as have previous Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio Hong Kong sales. It will not be held alongside the HKCS, which plans to retain its original August dates.
The shift in dates will allow the firm to space out the time between the two annual sales, the first of which had been postponed nearly two months due to the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Despite this postponement and the overall uncertainty that has gripped the globe, the firm was pleased to announce that their 10th Anniversary sale brought incredible results, with total prices realized achieving $13.2 million—154% of the high estimate! This extra time between spring and fall sales will allow for additional consignments to be added, ensuring that the October auction will be as wildly anticipated as the recently-completed May event. The firm has set a new consignment deadline of July 17, replacing the previous date of May 29.