Recently Sold by DWN: 1871-S 25¢, PCGS MS66 CAC

Beginning with this piece, I am initiating a series of blogs that looks at individual coins that I have sold to our clients. Some of these coins were included on my website ( while others were not. The prices on these coins range from a few thousand dollars up to hundreds of thousands. All have one thing in common: they are interesting issues with a story to tell.

This first coin might surprise you. I have a well-deserved reputation as a dealer who handles a lot of great 18th and 19th century United Sates gold coins. But I also handle some really interested Bust and Seated coins, including coins such as the featured item in this blog.

I started collecting coins when I was nine years old and one of the first series which I started collecting seriously was Liberty Seated quarters. I have always loved this series and over the years, I’ve handled numerous finest known and Condition Census issues. I’ve always had a soft spot for New Orleans and San Francisco quarters so this Gem 1871-S quarter hit a real nerve for me.

1871-S 25C PCGS MS66 CAC

The 1871-S is a scarce, low-mintage issue which, like all of the other San Francisco quarters of this era, tends to be found in lower grades. There are an estimated 200-300 known with many of these showing extensive wear. A small number of Gems (maybe as many as four or five) are known, and it was likely these were all saved by foresighted collectors or local families.

The present 1871-S quarter is famous within the Seated Liberty collecting community and it is very likely the single finest known. It has blazing frosty luster with surfaces which, except for a small scrape in the right obverse field, are essentially “as made.” The coin has blast white centers with some cinnamon hues at the obverse border; the reverse shows lighter but more extensive color at the periphery.

There are two superb gems known for this date and these are as follows:

  1. This coin, ex Heritage 6/14: 30391 ($30,550), Gene Gardner collection obtained privately from Summit RC in August 2004, earlier from the Stellar Collection and probably ex Eliasberg 2: 1498. Graded MS66 and approved by CAC.
  2. A second coin graded MS66 by PCGS, this ex Stack's Bowers 8/12: 11350 where it sold for $35,938. More extensively toned than coin #1. Graded MS66 by PCGS and approved by CAC. 

The 1871-S was formerly a neglected and overlooked date and it remains somewhat overshadowed by its rarer counterpart, the 1872-S. But it is very scarce in all grades and it is almost never seen in popular collector grades. Its value has risen appreciably over the years in the VF-AU grade range, but like many Seated quarters of this era it is dominated by the famous Carson City issues which are more popular and which have multiple levels of demand.

With Gene Gardner now out of the market, there is really no single collector who is the “go to guy” for Gem Mint State Seated Liberty rarities. In my opinion, when a new collector or two gets into the market and focuses on coins such as San Francisco Seated quarters (and I think this is inevitable, given how popular San Francisco gold from this era has become in the last three years) a coin such as this Gem 1871-S quarter could easily double its current price level.

This coin is a great combination of beauty and rarity, and I was proud to offer it.



1795 Draped Bust $1.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

Old Green Holder. B-14, BB-52. Rarity-2. The Off-Center Bust variety. There are two distinct varieties of 1795 Draped Bust Dollar: the Off-Centered Bust (B-14) and the Centered Bust (B-15). The former appears to be harder to locate in higher grades, as well as being more difficult to locate in terms of overall rarity. This example shows delightful deep "old silver" color with reddish iridescence seen in the protected areas. The strike is sharp and the surfaces are very choice with only a few tiny marks seen below magnification. Unlike most 1795 dollars graded AU58, this coin is a true slider with just the barest trace of cabinet friction seen on the high spots. This coin was graded many years ago and while I don't think it would ever upgrade to Mint State, I do believe that it is hugely superior to most examples offered for sale in recent years. As an example, a PCGS AU58 of this variety recently sold for $35,650 in the 9/11 Goldberg auction. The present piece is far, far nicer in my opinion and it would make a wonderful piece for an advanced collection of early silver types.

1845 25C PCGS MS63

There are few areas in the market that offer better value than No Motto Seated Quarters and I am especially fond of the Philadelphia quarters from the 1840's. This choice, fresh example shows light russet-gold centers that are framed by flashes of fiery apricot-gold at the borders. There are a few scattered marks in the obverse fields that limit the grade but this is among the few 1845 quarters that I have seen that weren't either bright white from a recent dipping or dark and full of friction. Only four PCGS MS63's have sold at auction since 2000 and the last coin to trade was Heritage 9/08: 1512 that brought $1,783. Exceptional value at under $2,000!