1808 $2.50 MS (PCGS# 7660)

The January 2013 Americana Sale

  • Auctioneer:
    Stack's Bowers
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Lot Description
1808 Capped Bust Left Quarter Eagle. BD-1, the only known dies. Rarity-4. MS-60 (NGC). Struck in bright yellow-gold with a touch of deeper gold in the fields that serves to accent the devices. The surfaces retain considerable mint frost, a feature that disappears with even limited circulation. The strike is sharp on Liberty's curls and the eagle, but the stars lack their radial centers as nearly always seen on this rare issue. There are a couple of minor surface lines in the open fields and these seem to account for the modest grade. <br /> <br /> The 1808 Capped Bust left quarter eagle is a short-lived type, issued only in 1808 and with a modest mintage of 2,710 pieces for the entire year. No quarter eagles were again issued in the next revised style until 1821. Mint Engraver John Reich designed this quarter eagle, with a bust of Liberty facing left (instead of right as previously seen on quarter eagles of 1807) and wearing a floppy cap inscribed LIBERTY. The obverse design is similar to that of the Capped Bust half dollar also launched by Reich in 1807, but the cap is different in shape. For the reverse most of the elements of our Great Seal were included, but redesigned to fit within the confines of a quarter eagle size. The eagle retains his shield over breast, but the scroll now is placed above the eagle's head and not held in his beak. The olive branch and arrows are switched back to their normal positions, with the olive branch of peace in the right claw of the eagle, and the protection from war arrows placed in the sinister or left claw. Engraver Reich is believed to have signed most of the dies he engraved with a tiny signature, that in the form a small notch out of one of the arms of the stars on the obverse. He usually placed this notched arm&nbsp;star in&nbsp;the final position right of the date, while the other twelve stars do not show this small notch. Reich's notch appears on several dies starting with his employment as Assistant Engraver at the Mint
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