Gem Proof 1822 Quarter Dollar 25 over 50 C Error Reverse Tied for Finest Known

To err is human, it is said. And when the Mint makes an error that can be divine. In 1822 a Mint engraver was working on the reverse die for a silver coin. In a moment of forgetfulness, or perhaps after too many sips of rum (a popular libation for Mint workers of the time), he thought he was preparing a half dollar die. On the reverse he added the figures 50 C. Oops! This was a small-diameter die intended for a quarter dollar. He then overpunched the 50 with 25, but left enough of the error visible that it is easily seen today. Thus was created one of the most famous early silver coins.

As might be expected, this variety is desirable in any grade. Even a well-worn example would attract attention. The D. Brent Pogue Collection coin is a gorgeous Proof-65 Cameo (PCGS)!

This coin is unforgettable, and looks just as it did when we last saw it almost 35 years ago when we cataloged it as part of the T. Harrison Garrett Collection consigned to us by the Johns Hopkins University. As we described it then, it remains:

“A magnificent Proof example. Full Proof surfaces on both obverse and reverse, including within the shield stripes, with the exception of a small frosty area below Miss Liberty’s chin…the obverse and reverse have light lilac toning with blue iridescent overtones. The strike is outstanding.”

The coin was so well preserved in large part due to its having been carefully kept by T. Harrison Garrett in his vault room, accessed through a trapdoor and stairs in the floor of his library at Evergreen House in Baltimore. Since that time, the owners of this prize have handled it with extreme and deserved care.

One of the delights of the D. Brent Pogue Collection is that we have the opportunity to get reacquainted with many of our favorite coins from “name” sales of years ago. This incredible Gem Proof was a highlight of our Garrett Collection Sale II for The Johns Hopkins University in 1980, as noted. In a way, that seems like yesterday. In another way, it was ancient history. There were no third-party encapsulations, most of the leading buyers of that time are no longer with us, and coins that sold at record prices back then (in a “down” market no less) seem like bargains today.


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