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David Lawrence Rare Coins Auction #974: Lots You Need to Know

By CoinWeek …..
David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC) conducts online auctions of certified coins, offering collectors a mix of classic and modern material in all grades so that the everyman collector and the ultra-high-end registry set builder has the opportunity to upgrade their collections with new coins each week. Auction 973 is live now with 520 lots of PCGS- and NGC-certified coins, many offered with no reserve.

All lots begin closing at 8pm EST on Sunday, August 20.

CoinWeek’s editors have studied the offerings and present the following lots you need to know.

Lot 4161: 1850 Liberty Seated Quarter Dollar, PCGS MS65+ CAC

The late Eugene Gardner was a Liberty Seated coin collector par excellence and his meticulously crafted collection brought record prices when offered by Heritage Auctions. Some of these coins are now locked away for many years, while others have re-entered the market.

In this auction DLRC is offering a handful of Gardner quarter dollars from the collection of another serious though unpublicized collector. According to David Lawrence President John Brush, “These pieces come to us from a long-time collector who has amassed quite a selection of scarce, registry-quality seated quarters.”

We certainly noticed and the following four quarter lots reflect the collector’s penchant for quarters with great eye appeal.

The first of four pieces that caught our eye was Lot 4161, an elusive gem from 1850. 190,800 quarters were struck in 1850, a middling number for Type I “No Motto” quarters. Most circulated or were melted down. Those that survive are almost always encountered in XF of below. In Mint State, it is a rarity. To date, PCGS has encountered fewer than 20 pieces; NGC reports similar findings.

1850 Liberty Seated QuarterThe present coin was in a PCGS MS65 CAC holder when Heritage Auctions offered it for sale in fourth session of the Gardner Collection Sale. It brought $13,125 – a healthy sum at the time. This conditional rarity has since upgraded to MS65+ and is topped only by the richly tawny port colored PCGS MS67, which was Gardner’s “A” coin for the issue.

  • Current Bid: $15,000.00

1855 Arrows Quarter PCGS MS66Lot 4170: 1855 (with Arrows) Liberty Seated Quarter Dollar, PCGS MS66 CAC

This deeply toned example is of the 1855 With Arrows Liberty Seated quarter dollar is the Briggs 3-C “Compass Point” reverse variety. “Compass Point” reverses feature on a number of dates in the series. A diagnostic feature of the variety is revealed on close inspection of the reverse, where a circular imperfection is visible at the top of the first red stripe of the escutcheon.

1855 Compas Point Reverse

Numismatist Larry Briggs in his essential 1991 reference The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of United States Liberty Seated Quarters notes that 26 obverses and 20 reverses were used for the 1855 issue, of which 2,857,000 quarters were struck. Few that survive today carry the character of the emerald green and russet allover toning. This example was certified MS66 by PCGS and is CAC-approved (PCGS Population four, one finer)  

Heritage Auctions offered this piece in the Gardner Collection IV sale in October 2015, where it brought $17,760. At the time of the Eugene Gardner sales, CoinWeek writer Greg Reynolds remarked that Gardner “devoted more time and effort to seeking high-quality Liberty Seated coins of all types than anyone in the history of coin collecting.” This example was actually his “B” coin, replaced after more than a decade in his Liberty Seated quarter set by a slightly finer example in an NGC MS67* holder (ex: Bill Nagle).

Another significant example, Eric P. Newman’s NGC MS67+* brought $31,725 when it re-sold earlier this month.

  • Current Bid: $15,000

Lot 4192, 1885 Liberty Seated Quarter, PCGS MS67 CAC

From 1879 until 1888, demand for new quarter dollars was much higher than each year’s low mintages indicate. During this time, the Mint would squeak out 10,000 to 15,000 quarter dollar coins, sometimes less, while at the same time striking Morgan dollars by the millions. The imbalance of production was inefficient, of course, as Morgan dollars ended up stuffed in treasury bags in subbasements and vaults, while the paltry few new quarters that ended up in circulation were woefully inadequate for commercial needs.

1885 Liberty Seated QuarterThe 1885 mintage of 13,600 was augmented by a Proof distribution of 930 pieces. PCGS accounts for three pieces in MS67 with one higher in MS67+. NGC reports a population of eight pieces in MS67 with one piece in MS68.

When last we saw this example, it brought $12,075 at the May 2011 Goldberg Auctions Pre-Long Beach sale. The PCGS Top Pop MS67+ example, attributed by Heritage Auctions as the Briggs 2-A variety, brought $6,756 last year at the Heritage Auctions Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction.

The current bid posted at DLRC is substantially higher than both hammers.

  • Current Bid: $15,750

Lot 4200: 1880 Liberty Seated Quarter PCGS PR67

1,355 Proof quarters of 1460 struck were distributed of the 1880 issue, making this issue the most plentiful quarter in Proof of the type. In fact, it would take 56 years before the mint struck more Proofs of the twenty-five cent denomination. That issue being the 1936 Washington quarter Proof with a distribution of 3,387 pieces.

Many examples of this issue survive, perhaps as many as two thirds of the initial distribution. Most are toned to one degree or another. Over the years, many have been cleaned or show some degree of impairment due to mishandling or environmental damage.

This example displays a degree of cameo contrast, but apparently not enough to qualify for PCGS’ cameo or deep cameo designation. Given the degree of toning on the coin, it is hard to understand why. The ultra high resolution image of the coin published on PCGS Coinfacts reveals a coin with a significant degree of cameo frost and attractive multi-colored toning, which presents splashes of sea foam, ginger, canary, turquoise, and aubergine.

Light polishing of the scroll to the left of WE in IN GOD WE TRUST has removed some of the scroll detail, this is one diagnostic method used by numismatists to identify the Type II Proof reverse.

1880 Liberty Quarter Dollar

PCGS has certified nine examples at PR67 (without Cameo or Deep Cameo designations) with six finer. In August 2016, Heritage offered the piece at the ANA US Coins Signature Auction in Anaheim, where it brought $3,055 with buyer’s premium.

  • Current Bid: $2,800

Also worthy of note:

Lot 4319: 1861 Confederate States of America 50c NGC AU55 (CSA Restrike, B-8002) 1861 Confederate States of America 50c NGC AU55 (CSA Restrike, B-8002) – Rare 19th-century restrike of an original pattern (of which only four are known).

Lot 4413: 1944-S Walking Liberty half dollar PCGS MS66+ CAC – Fully brilliant and well-struck high-end type coin of the popular series.

Lot 4477: 1908 Saint Gaudens $20 Gold Coin (No Motto) PCGS MS66+ CAC – M0st Mint State Saints look like total garbage. This high end example is worth a solid premium.

Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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