By CoinWeek ….
This Sunday, bidding comes to a close on one of the two PCGS-certified finest known 1850-O Liberty Head quarter eagles, which is currently being offered online at GreatCollections.com.
Graded MS64, it is the second example to earn that grade at PCGS. Encapsulated in a Gold Shield holder, the coin has also received a green sticker from CAC (so has the other PCGS-certified 64). NGC has graded only one example at this grade.
PCGS CoinFacts gives an estimated value of $50,000 USD for an 1850-O quarter eagle in MS64. And while there are no recent auction records for examples in that grade, a CAC-approved MS63 sold for $31,200 at a Stack’s Bowers auction earlier this year in March. At the time of writing, the current bid on GreatCollections is $27,001.
An Underrated Issue
Like all gold coins issued by the New Orleans Mint, the 1850-O quarter eagle is an underrated classic.
The set of New Orleans issues contains several very difficult pieces, and this difficulty certainly extends to the 1850-O $2.50. It is a moderately rare coin as far as O-Mint quarter eagles go: according to gold expert Doug Winter, the general rarity of the 1850-O is somewhere between that of the 1846-O and the 1847-O, but in Mint State the 1850-O is by far the rarer of the three. Stack’s Bowers gives an estimate of only 25 to 30 pieces out of an initial mintage of 84,000 that have come down to us in Uncirculated condition. This is because–even for a branch mint notorious for its weak strikes–most 1850-O quarter eagles are especially weak, if not “mushy”.
While not fully struck, the present coin is relatively well struck, with slight weakness at the highest points on the obverse but still strong for the issue. Per usual, the reverse is slightly weaker, which is most noticeable in the feathers around the shield and in the eagle’s claws. The coin has retained its original luster and the fields even feature some reflectivity. There is no pedigree information on the holder, but a CoinWeek auction search matched the coin to the specimen included in the A.J. Vanderbilt Collection.
The chance to add a coin like this to your collection of Southern gold doesn’t come around too often.