The D. Brent Pogue Collection

Incredible Gem 1808 Quarter Eagle

Lot 1128
Incredible Gem 1808 Quarter Eagle

Landmark Gold Type
Single Finest PCGS Coin

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1808 Capped Bust Left Quarter Eagle. BD-1. Rarity-4. MS-65 (PCGS). When we offered this coin as part of the Jimmy Hayes Collection in 1984 we described this landmark as follows: "Gem Brilliant Uncirculated. Full blazing mint luster and an exceptional strike." When Abe Kosoff offered it in his listing of the Dr. J. Hewitt Judd Collection he said: "This is a dream coin, out of the famous Col. Green Collection. Not only is it the rarity that it is, but this is very likely the finest specimen extant. To own this coin is to own a prize, indeed."

The surfaces are pleasantly accented by deep orange gold toning, and besides being the finest in terms of technical grade, it is probably the most beautiful of the known survivors.

Among coins needed to complete a type set of designs the 1808 quarter eagle is one of the greatest challenges. The motif features the Capped Bust Left design, an adaptation of the design introduced in 1807 on the half dollar and half eagle. The reverse is new as well, with a perched eagle. Just 2,710 quarter eagles were struck of this type, with no thought given to saving even a single piece for numismatic posterity. Today only a few hundred exist, and in any grade the 1808 quarter eagle is eagerly sought. Nearly all show wear, Very Fine and Extremely Fine being typical, punctuated with the occasional About Uncirculated coin.

The designer of this coin, John Reich (Johann Mathias Reich), was born in Fürth, Germany in 1768, where his father was a prolific medalist of indifferent talent. After working in his father's shop he emigrated from Hamburg to America in 1800. After a year's indenture to a Philadelphia coppersmith, Reich was "freed" by Henry Voigt, chief coiner at the Mint.

At the Mint Reich was recognized as a die-sinker of considerable merit. On occasion Chief Engraver Robert Scot tapped him to work on dies for coins and medals. In March 1807 Mint Director Robert Patterson urged President Jefferson to hire Reich as an assistant engraver.

The first order of business was to develop new motifs for the coinage. In that year his Capped Bust design, as we call it today, was used on the half dollar and half eagle, followed within the decade by use on the quarter eagle (1808 as here), dime (1809), and quarter dollar (1815). Liberty faces to the left and wears a soft cloth cap, sometimes called a mob cap. After the production of quarter eagles in 1808, no more coins of this denomination were struck until 1821, by which time the motif had been modified.

The quality of the D. Brent Pogue 1808 quarter eagle is beyond belief. It will be a treasure for its next owner.

Provenance: Col. E.H.R. Green; Abe Kosoff's "Illustrated History" fixed price list of the Dr. J. Hewitt Judd Collection, 1962; Jimmy Hayes; our (Stack's) session of Auction '84, lot 1372.

Rarities Auction Accompanying the D. Brent Pogue Collection

Stack’s Bowers Galleries will be hosting an exclusive Rarities Auction, held in conjunction with The D. Brent Pogue Collection. We will be accepting limited consignments of United States and world coins and paper money, featured in a spectacular catalog reserved for the rarest of the rare. Special terms will apply. If you are interested in participating in this unique opportunity, please call 949-748-4849 or email us at [email protected].

Alternatively, you can fill out our online consignment form. Click here to view the form.