Historic Browning Plate 1823/2 Quarter Featured in our June 2020 Auction

​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

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 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 Santa Ana Auction, offered alongside Vermont coppers from
the Q. David Bowers Collection, the Francesca Collection of US Gold Coins, The
Dazzling Rarities Collection, and many other rarities. The sale will be
available for bidding and viewing on our website  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.

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