Stack's Bowers - The August 2012 Philadelphia ANA World's Fair of Money Auction Lot #11091

  • PCGS
  • 55
  • CAC
  • N

1870-CC Liberty Seated Quarter. Briggs 1-A, the only known dies. AU-55 (PCGS). CAC.

Jeff Ambio: Original and very fresh, this is an outstanding example. The surfaces are uncommonly smooth with none of the large abrasions, porosity or other significant problems that often accompany survivors of this first-year Carson City Mint issue. Even small, wispy abrasions are virtually absent, making it difficult for us to find a singularly useful pedigree marker. Both sides are bathed in warm, even, dove gray patina which, at more direct angles, reveals subtle undertones of powder blue, lilac and pale apricot. Boldly, if not sharply defined over all devices, how this 70-CC quarter escaped heavy, if not terminal circulation is certainly a mystery given the conditionally challenging nature of this issue. Second finest certified at PCGS and NGC combined, the only higher-graded example is the Eliasberg specimen that now resides in an NGC MS-64 holder. The latter is currently the only known Mint State 1870-CC quarter; a second piece described as "Brilliant Uncirculated" in the 1974 catalog for the H. Philip Speir Sale is either untraced today or has been certified as a circulated coin in more recent years. The uneven strike that characterizes the Speir Sale example precludes it from being the Battle Born Collection specimen. Rusty Goe: On April 20, 1870, the first 3,540 quarters with the "CC" mintmark entered the world. A month later, on May 24, the coiner delivered 1,400 more quarter dollars, and on August 15, just a few weeks before Superintendent Curry resigned to make a run for Nevada's lieutenant governor's position, the final 3,400 were struck. No discussion about 1870-CC quarters comes full circle unless mention is made of the incomparable Eliasberg specimen. Graded MS-64 by NGC it is the only Mint State example of this revered date. Eliasberg acquired it when he bought the Clapp family collection in 1942. John. M. Clapp and his son, John H. Clapp, kept a meticulous notebook that listed their coin purchases between 1891 and about 1910. At times however, incorrect entries were made in this notebook. The one for the 1870-CC quarter is a prime example. In the Clapp notebook, it lists the Chapman brothers' Harlan P. Smith sale of June 1906 as the source of this coin. The problem is, the Harlan P. Smith sale did not offer an 1870-CC quarter in it. Finally, we came upon the Chapman brothers' William B. Wetmore sale from June 29, 1906, just one day after that firm concluded its Smith sale. We see that Mr. Wetmore's dazzling 1870-CC quarter sold for $10, the exact price listed in the Clapp notebook. Q. David Bowers: Most 1870-CC quarter dollars were placed into circulation regionally, as in the East and Midwest silver coins were not seen in circulation. No numismatic attention was paid to them at all, and in time most specimens became well worn. Likely somewhere between 45 and 65 examples exist today, each a highly prized rarity no matter what the grade. The finest is thought to have been the Eliasberg Collection coin, cataloged by my staff and me and auctioned in 1997 for the then remarkable price of $187,000 -- far and away a new record. As is true of the Carson City dimes of this era and also the half dollars and dollars, today in the marketplace grades such as Fine are about par and are highly desired. However, while dimes of this early period are typically seen with porous surfaces, that is not true of the other denominations. As noted under dimes in the present catalog, this is a mystery remaining to be solved. Statistical Snapshot* Service Grade Population in Battle Born Grade Population in Higher Grade Population in All Grades Survival Estimate Mintage PCGS AU-55 2† 0 43‡ — — NGC — 0 1 (MS-64) 44§ — — — — — — 77 45-65 8,340             * As of July 2012 † PCGS shows only one in AU-55, but there are two examples in this grade—I sold both of them. ‡ This aggregate total conflicts with the columnar total of only 30 submission events. The discrepancy might come from PCGS not displaying columns for grades below VG. § Only 26 per columnar totals.

PCGS#: 5477

Pedigree: From the Battle Born Collection. Earlier from David Lawrence's sale of the Richmond Collection, March 2005, lot 1471; Rusty Goe. The plate coin for the issue in the book The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of United States Liberty Seated Quarters by Larry Briggs (1991) and on the PCGS Coin Facts website.