Goldberg Coins and Collectibles



Sale 74

June Long Beach Coin Auction


$2.50 Classic Head
 
 
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 1372
1834. No Motto PCGS graded Genuine AU Details. Cleaning. A nice bold strike with plenty of luster still intact (PCGS # 7692) .
Estimated Value $700 - 750.
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Realized
$719
Lot 1373
1836 $2.50 Classic Head. ICG graded AU-50. A trifle soft in the centers as struck. Enough mint luster remains to justify the grade and then some. An attractive early William Kneass-designed piece. This issue lasted a short time, from 1834 to 1839.
Estimated Value $700 - 800.
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Realized
$719
Lot 1374
1838-C $2.50 Classic Head. PCGS graded VF-30. The obverse is nice and bold for the grade. Lightly toned. Only 7,880 minted. A wonderful example, centered in the sweet spot of collecting affordability, with incidental luster remaining in the protected areas. The 1838-C is the first Charlotte Mint quarter eagle and is one of only two Classic Head issues of this mint.

The authorized Quarter Eagle format was reduced in size and weight via the Act of June 28, 1834. This was put into effect on August 2, 1834, and coins struck on and after that date were of the new weight. The strategy to adjust the gold-to-silver ratio by this means proved successful. Before, gold coins were being exported to excess. It was now no longer profitable to melt or export coins for bullion, and gold coins circulated at par for the first time since the War of 1812.

From 1834 through 1839 large quantities were produced, with bullion supplied from gold production in North Carolina and Georgia and by gold shipments received from France as an indemnity for spoliation against American commerce during the Napoleonic Wars. Most of the mintage was accomplished at Philadelphia. In 1838, the branch mints at Charlotte and Dahlonega produced coins for the first time. Such mintmarked pieces are rare today (PCGS # 7697) .
Estimated Value $2,000 - 2,200.
The Arden Collection.

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$3,680
Lot 1375
1839-C $2.50 Classic Head. NGC graded AU-58. Only 18,140 minted. Mostly untoned. Identifiable by a small diagonal mark on the cheek and another paralleling the chin in the field below. Still lustrous warm golden color gold with some deeper accents in the protected regions. From the second year of Charlotte Mint production, and the last of just two years mintmark on the obverse; the mintmark position would be switched to the reverse in 1840 on this denomination, with the introduction of the new Liberty motif by Gobrecht. It remained on the reverse through the demise of the denomination in 1929. The Winter reference on the Charlotte Mint notes two varieties for the date, the 1839/8 overdate, and the 1839/9 repunched 9 variety; the present coin shows clear traces of the earlier 9, and is probably a middle state of this variety. A diagonal die break crosses the reverse. We are pleased to offer this lively and lustrous choice AU58 example of one of the most popular of all Classic Head gold issues. Few examples of the date have been graded finer than the present specimen. We suspect bidding activity will reflect as much. Pop 63; 17 finer, 4 in 60, 10 in 61, 2 in 62, 1 in 63 (PCGS # 7699) .
Estimated Value $9,000 - 10,000.
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Realized
$9,488
Lot 1376
1839-O $2.50 Classic Head. NGC graded MS-65. Well struck and glowiwng with golden frosty mint luster. Pop 1; the finest graded at either service. High Date, Wide Fraction, Breen-6152, McCloskey-A, R.3. The years 1838 and 1839 provided innovations galore US numismatics. 1838 saw the opening of this nation's first branch mints in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dahlonega, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, reflecting the advancing front of the American migration south and to the west that continues to this day. Gold and silver coinage featured several new and distinctive types, with William Kneasss Classic Head gold design fading rapidly to be replaced by the long-lived Liberty Head motif. Silver coinage saw the introduction of Liberty Seated coinage after preliminary steps were taken in 1836 and 1837, which would run into the 1890s. The first gold eagles since their suspension in 1804 were coined in 1838, displaying the familiar Christian Gobrecht-inspired Liberty Head that would spread to the other gold denominations and last even longer than Gobrechts Seated coins.

The Obverse Mintmark style for gold and silver coinage in 1838 and 1839 was also new. However, Mint officials moved all mintmarks in 1840 to the reverse, trend that would reverse in 1909 when the Lincoln cent was introduced and repeated in 1916-17 with the Standing Liberty Quarter and Walking Liberty Half Dollar.

The present spectacular 1839-O Classic Head Quarter Eagle displays breathtaking, thick, frosty luster that justly juts the coin an Empire State Buildings height above the typical O-mint quarter eagle of this vintage. The surfaces are vivid golden yellow, verging on pristine quality throughout portions of the obverse and reverse. Die lapping makes the obverse hair below the Y of LIBERTY and above the 9 in the date appear broken, the strike is nevertheless extremely well executed. All star centers full with only a faint loss detail on the 13th star. On the reverse, which is better struck on these as a rule, there is outstanding crispness virtually everywhere save for the left portion of the lower shield lines (as typical for the date). Best of all, there are pretty much no disturbing marks of any kind. The luster is intact. The luster is beautiful. The color out of this world. It is, of course, the original luster and surfaces that are this wonder coin's foremost contribution to its one-of-a-kind Mint State 65 grade!

The 1839-O was unknown in Gem Mint State until recent time, although there are a few survivors classified MS64, including several we have offered in sales in the early 2000s. A heart-stopping opportunity for the gold coin or rarity specialist! (PCGS # 7701) .

Note: In order to encourage gold coins to circulate at par -- which had not been the case since 1815 -- Congress reduced the authorized weight of the various denominations through the Act of June 28, 1834. On August 2, 1834, the new standard went into effect. For the quarter eagle the weight was reduced from 67 grains to 64 grains. A seemingly minor change but with notable ramifications.

To differentiate the new coins from the old, the design was changed. Chief Engraver William Kneass created what is called the Classic Head today. The head of Liberty faces left, her hair bound by a ribbon inscribed LIBERTY, stars circle her head, and with the date below.

The reverse depicts an eagle with a shield on its breast, perched on an olive branch and holding three arrows. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and 2 1/2 D. surrounds. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM, used on quarter eagles since 1796, was omitted. The diameter remained 18.2mm.

Mintage quantities were large in the first several years of the coinage span, with the high-water mark being 1836, when 547,986 were struck. In 1838, quarter eagles were struck at Charlotte for the first time, followed the next year by supplementary coinage at Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans. By far, the greatest number of 1834-1839 Classic Head quarter eagles were issued at Philadelphia.

Examples of the Classic Head can be obtained readily in grades from Fine through Extremely Fine. AU pieces are scarce, and Uncirculated pieces are scarcer yet. Superb Uncirculated coins are very rare. Uncirculated pieces of the first year of issue, 1834, often display prooflike surfaces.

The lowest mintage of the type was registered by the first mintmark issue, the 1838-C, of which only 7,880 were struck. Today, this variety is very scarce in any grade and very rare at the AU level. The mintmarked issues of the next year, 1839-C, 1839-D, and 1839-O, are all scarce, with the typically encountered grade being VF or, occasionally, EF. Any coin in Mint State 60 or finer grade is a rarity. At the time, the numismatic community -- consisting of no more than a couple hundred widely scattered enthusiasts -- took no note of mintmarks, and not even the Mint Cabinet contained specimens.
Estimated Value $50,000 - 60,000.
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Lot 1377
1839-O $2.50 Classic Head. PCGS graded AU-50. Lightly toned. Popular New Orleans issue with the mint-mark on the obverse. Scarcer Close Fraction variety. Two die varieties are known. This variety has a low date and crowded fraction, while the other has a high date with wide fraction. Pop 32; 81 finer (PCGS # 7701) .
Estimated Value $2,000 - 2,200.
The Arden Collection.

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Realized
$3,565
Lot 1378
1839-O NGC graded AU Details. Whizzed. Lightly toned. Only 17,781 minted (PCGS # 7701) .
Estimated Value $550 - 600.
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Realized
$1,064






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