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SERIES: Liberty Head $2 1/2 1840-1907
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1846-D/D $2.50 (Regular Strike)

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18.00 millimeters
Christian Gobrecht
4.18 grams
Metal Content:
90% Gold, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$12,650 • PCGS AU58 • 10-1-1999 • Bowers & Merena
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Rarity and Survival Estimates (Explain)
Grades Survival
Relative Rarity
By Type 
Relative Rarity
By Series 
All Grades 40 R-8.7 5 / 147 TIE 5 / 147 TIE
60 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 147 1 / 147
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 147 1 / 147
Condition Census (Explain) Show more rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS61 PCGS grade  
2 AU58 PCGS grade  
2 AU58 PCGS grade  
2 AU58 PCGS grade  
2 AU58 PCGS grade  
Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS61 PCGS grade  
2 AU58 PCGS grade  
2 AU58 PCGS grade  
2 AU58 PCGS grade  
2 AU58 PCGS grade  
6 AU55 PCGS grade  
6 AU55 PCGS grade  
6 AU55 PCGS grade  
6 AU55 PCGS grade  
6 AU55 PCGS grade  
Doug Winter: The 1846-D quarter eagle has nearly the same mintage as the 1845-D. But the 1846-D is more common from the standpoint of overall rarity and the number known to exist in higher grades.

The 1846-D quarter eagle is most often seen in Very Fine and Extremely Fine grades. It is scarce in the lower About Uncirculated grades and rare in the higher About Uncirculated grades. This is an extremely rare issue in Mint State. Only one example of the “D Near D” reverse exists in Mint State.

STRIKE: 1846-D quarter eagles are usually fairly well struck. The obverse is well defined with just a bit of the weakness on the curls near the ear and eye. The stars are sharp although a few may be missing their radial lines. The milling is sharp. The reverse is not as bold as the obverse. The eagle shows some weakness on its neck and wings and the right leg is invariably weak. The lettering is full but many are weak on the denticles. On late die state coins, the centers become weaker and show clashmarks while there are a number of cracks on the reverse (see below) which weaken the overall appearance.

SURFACES: This date is generally found with numerous marks scattered about the surfaces. Many have been cleaned and show hairlines. This was an issue that appears to have seen heavy commercial use and any piece with clean, problem-free surfaces is very rare.

LUSTER: High grade examples have bright, frosty luster with an appealing texture. I have seen a small number of slightly reflective pieces as well.

COLORATION: Uncleaned, original 1846-D quarter eagles have colors which range from intense orange-gold to lighter yellow gold and medium green-gold. There are more original pieces available than for the 1844-D and 1845-D but an increasing number show signs of having been cleaned or dipped.

EYE APPEAL: Some very pleasing pieces exist but the typical example shows below average eye appeal.

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: In the late 1990’s, the 1846-D/Near D quarter eagle (Variety 7-K; see below) was accorded a high premium by specialists. Since then, the interest factor for the variety has remained high but its price premium has decreased. In my opinion, an early die state example that grades About Uncirculated-50 or better is worth at least 30-40% premium. In Uncirculated, this premium would be even greater, given the extreme rarity of very high grade 1846-D/Near D quarter eagles.


Variety 7-K: “D Near D Reverse.” This reverse was only used in 1846. The mintmark is placed far to the right and it is joined to the branch stem. The shaft of the arrow extends far to the left of the entire mintmark. The fraction bar extends only to the lower serif of the mintmark. Early die states show the remains of another mintmark over the 1 in the fraction. Later die states show only the lower serif of the earlier mintmark and this fades with die use. ONLY COINS WHICH PLAINLY SHOW SHARP TRACES OF THE FIRST MINTMARK PUNCH QUALIFY AS EXAMPLES OF THE “D NEAR D” VARIETY.

Die cracks can be seen on most examples using this reverse. A heavy crack can be seen on the lower right side of the second S in STATES. Another crack develops along the base of the second S in STATES and OF and it continues to the wing. Yet another crack runs from the right side of the D in UNITED through the wing and on to the base of the first S in STATES. A final crack can be seen at the rim through the E in AMERICA to the wing.

Early die state coins which plainly show the first mintmark are rare and generally command a strong premium. Later die state examples are common and sell for little or no premium.