1807 Draped Bust Quarter. Browning-1. Rarity-2. Mint State-65+ (PCGS). CAC.
This memorable coin is a completely brilliant gem, untoned but for hints of champagne on the rims, looking today much as it must have when it first crossed the front doorstep of the Mint onto Seventh Street. Never before sold at auction prior to our May 2015 sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I, this coin was found in London in the early 1990s. Its luster is intense and satiny, accentuated by the evenness of the frosty silver surfaces. The strike is typical, mostly firm but showing a few soft star centers and the usual weakness on the eagle's head and the stars above it. The dies have clashed, but the only die crack visible is a short one that joins the tops of ST of STATES. As expected at this grade level, no notable marks are present, just some faint lines at the central obverse and elsewhere. A tiny raised rim burr above star 7 is natural, like a small area of wire rim (or "fin" to use the Mint's terminology) that folded over at the time of striking; a reed runs through it, as seen on the edge. A faint streak through star 5 to above the hair ribbon may have to serve as a primary provenance marker for lack of something larger. The Rea-Koenings-Hartounian Census lists over a dozen Mint State coins, most at grades of 63 and below, none of which match this one. This coin appears to have resided outside of the mainstream numismatic marketplace until its discovery in London about 25 years ago.
This is the final year of the design type and the final year of quarter dollar production until the denomination returned in 1815. Over this interval, half dollars became the largest coin of the realm. Silver dollar mintage had been suspended three years earlier, and despite Jefferson's insistence that the Mint make small silver coins for common people, as referenced in the quote atop this description, at this point the decision of what kind of coins were to be struck was up to the persons depositing the bullion, not the Mint. Given that most depositors were banks or corporate entities, coins of larger value were preferable to barrels full of half dimes, dimes, and quarters. The mintage totals for quarters surpassed 200,000 coins per year in both 1806 and 1807; there would not be two consecutive years with mintages surpassing even 150,000 quarters until the 1830s.
There are two die varieties of 1807 quarters. In lower grades, neither variety is a rarity. At the gem level, as here, each is an object of great desire. This date is often chosen by type collectors, but even those who pursue exclusively Mint State coins often must settle for lower Mint State grades, or coins certified at high grades but exhibiting poor aesthetic appeal. The largest concentration of PCGS grades is at the MS-63 level. In gem Mint State-65 or finer, the number of extant specimens is not sufficient to meet the demand for this date and type.
PCGS# 38939. NGC ID: 23RF.
PCGS Population: 1, 1 finer (MS-67).
From an unknown source in London, England, by sale, early 1990s; Walter Hood, by sale, via Richard Burdick, to the Foxfire Collection (Claude E. Davis, MD); acquired with the Foxfire Collection, en bloc, by sale, October 5, 2004; our(Stack's Bowers Galleries)/Sotheby's sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I, May 2015, lot 1056.