The United States Mint struck 150 Proof quarter eagles in 1899. In their gold Encyclopedia, Garrett and Guth estimate that “around 100” examples survive, which is less than half of the reported certified population of 249 coins. Obviously, the official reports are inflated by resubmissions.
Garrett and Guth further write: “The issue trades as a type coin and can sometimes be found in amazing condition.”
Typically, a PR68 Ultra Cameo Proof would be considered high-end for this issue, although the PR69 Ultra Cameo example we are offering in the December 13-14 Beverly Hills Signature auction eclipses that grade.
Not only is this essentially flawless coin the sole finest 1899 Proof quarter eagle known, it is one of only 11 proofs in the entire series that have qualified for a PR69 Ultra or Deep Cameo grade at NGC and PCGS combined. NGC lists one PR69 Ultra Cameo coin each for the 1897, 1898, and 1899 proof issues, four for the 1900 proof (one of which is PR69 ★ Ultra Cameo), and two for the 1901; PCGS lists two 1901 coins in PR69 Deep Cameo as the only top-grade proofs in the series.
We have never before handled a Proof 1899 quarter eagle this fine. The last PR68 Ultra Cameo that we offered was lot 5666 of the October ANA Signature in 2012, where an NGC coin realized more than $44,000 USD. Since 1993, across the entire series, we have handled a Proof Liberty quarter eagle in PR69 Ultra or Deep Cameo on only three occasions, the last of which was in 2010.
This NGC-certified piece is brilliant. In addition to needle-sharp design elements and essentially flawless surfaces, it showcases dramatic field-device contrast and eye-catching appeal. The depth of mirroring in the fields is mesmerizing. Type collectors seeking the ultimate representative for the Liberty Head quarter eagle series quite simply cannot do better than this stellar Registry coin.
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