Rare Proof 1835 Capped Bust Quarter Sets Auction Record at Historic 2012 ANA Rarities Night Event

NGC/CAC Proof-64 Realized $115,000

Stacks Bowers Galleries is pleased to announce the spectacular success of our much-anticipated 2012 Philadelphia ANA Rarities Night event. Among the highlights of this sale is lot 11341, an exceedingly rare Proof striking of the 1835 B-7 Capped Bust quarter that realized $115,000 – a record price at auction for a Proof quarter of this date. Certified Proof-64 by NGC with a coveted CAC sticker, this coin is ranked among the top five in the current Condition Census for both the date and die variety.

Proof examples of the Capped Bust quarter series are among the rarest coins struck in the United States Mint during the early 19th century. Very few specimens were distributed, either singly or as part of sets from the half dime to the half dollar. When struck at all, they were always coined in extremely limited quantities of one to half a dozen pieces. Today the appearance at auction of a Choice example such as this beautiful Proof 1835 is truly a memorable occasion.

With this particular date there are perhaps only six to eight examples known in Proof, these struck using the die pairings of the Browning-1 and Browning-7 varieties. The number of Proof Browning-7 quarters cannot be determined with certainty, as population reports often represent a single coin submitted multiple times. Moreover, as stated, Proofs were also made of the B-1 variety, and certified population reports do not distinguish between the two die marriages. Likely, the number of known specimens of B-7 can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

When examined, numismatists will find the classic elegance that easily confirms the Proof status of this coin. The eye appeal is enhanced by peripheral or halo toning, no doubt from a Wayte Raymond "National" coin album or similar holder used by old-time collectors. The deeply mirrored fields contrast nicely with the frosted portrait, eagle and lettering. The strike is bold on Liberty’s hair curls and the eagle’s feathers; star 13 on the obverse shows virtually complete radials save for one, and the eagle’s right talon shows just a hint of rounding on its uppermost knobs. This impressive piece was certified long ago and, as the CAC stickers confirms, the coin is a premium quality example at the Proof-64 grade level. Indeed, both the technical quality and eye appeal are suggestive of a full Gem grade.

The obverse die of the 1835 B-7 variety is identified by the digit 1 in the date being slightly high and star 13 just touching Liberty’s curl. In addition there is a taller dentil below the digit 3 in the date. A faint die line extends diagonally through the letters RT in LIBERTY. On the reverse the engraver failed to put a period after the letter C in the denomination, unique to this die for the year. Another noteworthy blunder is the base of a mispunched E in the field below the primary letter E in UNITED, which is evident as a slightly doubled raised line with a hint of the upright of the E on the left. Natural die lines occur in unique locations, notably from the top leaf to the left wing near the tip; more die lines above the letters TE in STATES to the rim are found with the scrutiny of a strong loupe.

This lovely Proof coin would serve as centerpiece in a type set to illustrate the small-diameter Capped Bust quarter design used from 1831 to 1837, or as an important entry in a specialized die variety collection. As a class, Proof silver coins of the 1830s are among the most significant highlights of early American numismatics. We offer our sincere congratulations to the proud new owner of this great numismatic treasure!

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