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Obverse of 1854-S Quarter Eagle     Reverse of 1854-S Quarter Eagle


1854-S $2-1/2 DOLLARS
OR QUARTER EAGLE

PCGS No: 7773

Mintage:

Circulation strikes: 246
Proofs: 0

Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: ±18 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 90%
Other - 10%

Weight: 64.5 grains (4.18 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: "S" (for San Francisco) below the eagle on the reverse

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

Notes:
The 1854-S Quarter Eagle has the lowest mintage of any Quarter Eagle made for circulation and the fourth lowest mintage of any U.S. gold coin made for circulation (only the 1841-O Half Eagle, 1875 Half Eagle, and 1875 Eagle have lower mintages).

PCGS currently lists two examples in their Population Report: 1 VG-VF and 1 AU-50.

NGC currently lists seven examples in their Census: 1 F, 3 VF, 1 XF-45, 1 AU-50, and 1 AU-53.

Significant examples:
PCGS AU-50
- F.C.C. Boyd
– Numismatic Gallery “World's Greatest Collection”
– Stack’s “Bell” 12/1944
– Numismatic Gallery “Memorable” 03/1948
- Clinton Hester or C.M. Williams
– Numismatic Galleries "Adolphe Menjou" 06/1950:1326
- New Netherlands 51st Sale 06/1958:837
- unknown intermediaries
– Harry W. Bass, Jr., who purchased the coin privately in 1974
- Bowers and Merena "Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part II", 10/1999:472, $135,700.00
- Superior "Elite Sale" 01/2004:792, not sold
The finest example in private hands.  The citation to Superior "Rio Rancho" 10/1974:89, $31,000 was corrected by Heritage in their 02/2005 sale and added to the Davis-Graves pedigree (see below).

AU-50
- National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution (graded by Jeff Garrett 01/2005).  This piece was cited in the Newcomer inventory listing as one of only three examples known to him.

NGC XF-45
- a new discovery in 2005, claimed to have been in a Northern California family's possession since the late 1850's.  Representatives of the family, descended from Chinese immigrants who arrived in California shortly after the gold rush, walked the coin into the July 2005 pre-ANA Santa Clara show
- ANR 09/2005

NGC VF-35
– Stack’s “Davis-Graves” 04/1954:825
- Superior "Rio Rancho" 10/1974:89, $31,000.00
- David Lawrence "Richmond I" 07/2004:1149, $86,250.00
According to Breen: “VF+, horizontal abrasion above eagle.”  Breen speculated (incorrectly) that this might be the Bass coin.

NGC VF-25 (illustrated above)
- Abner Kreisberg Corporation 11/1982, $24,000
- Heritage 02/2005:7584, $97,750.00
Identifiable by a short scratch from the top arrow to the right serif of M.

“VF” (the Breen Encyclopedia plate coin)
- Mehl "Atwater" 06/1946
– Stack's "Grant Pierce" 05/1965:1154
– Stack's "R.L. Miles" 10/1968:166
– Jess Peters "ANA Sale" 08/1973:826, $9,000
– 1974 MANA Sale:1547, $24,000.00
– Arthur Lamborn
– B&R "Fairfield" 10/1977:1544, $10,000.00
– Scott-Kinnear, Lot 13, sold for $9,900.00
- Heritage "Long Beach" 10/1995:5527, $22,000.00
According to Breen: “VF, nick above thirteenth star, rough on upper l. obv., lower l. rev.”

“F to VF”
- B. Max Mehl, sold circa 1910 to John Clapp "at over $500." (see Bass description)
– Waldo Newcomer, acquired in a trade for the PCGS Good-6 listed below plus $200.00, most likely using Elmer Sears as an intermediary between himself and John Clapp, who had the only other example known in private hands at the time
- B.Max Mehl
– Col. E.H.R. Green
– Bell
– Farouk, Lot 278
– Superior “Gilhousen”:184
– Superior "Rio Rancho" 10/1974:90, $13,000.00
– Dr. Altany
– Windsor, Lot 307, $24,000.00

“F, scratch above eagle’s head, another (parallel upper wing) to rim close to F”
– B. Max Mehl "Belden Roach" 02/1944
– Stack's "Samuel Wolfson" 10/1962:165
– S. Hallock duPont, Lot 85
– 1983 Grand Central, Lot 2762, $10,000.00

“VG-F”
– Kreisberg/Schulman 02/1960:2592
– NERCA "ANA Sale" 08/1979:82, $8,750.00

"Very Good"
-
Paramount "Auction '81" 08/1981:1405
-
Stack's "E. George Elliott, Part II", 05/2000:1194, $31,050.00

PCGS Good-6
– H.O. Granberg, sold privately prior to 1913 for $500.00 (this coin did not appear in Mehl's 1913 auction of the Granberg collection)
- Waldo Newcomer.  According to the Newcomer inventory listing, Newcomer purchased this coin from Granberg, then traded it plus $200 for the "F to VF" coin listed above.  Newcomer does not identify the other party to the trade, but John Clapp, a fellow collector from Baltimore, had the only other example known in private hands at the time.  The trade appears to have been facilitated by or completed through Elmer Sears.
- Elmer Sears 08/1915, $395 (according to the Clapp notebooks)
– John H. Clapp
– Louis Eliasberg
- B&M "Eliasberg" 1982:170, $7,150.00
– B&M 05/1993:$20,900.00
– Nevada collection
- Doug Winter, sold circa 2003 for “a mid five-figure sum” – private collector
Called “VG/G” by Breen.

“Loop removed, traces of solder”.  Texas private collection

“Obv. VF, scratched; rev. shank removed, affecting NITE and MERI”.  Texas private collection

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"The PCGS Population Report, July 2005" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

NGC Census (at www.ngccoin.com), August 3, 2005