Precious Metals

Matte Proof 1913 Indian Head gold quarter eagle brings $4,993.75

Twentieth century Matte Proof gold coins aren’t as flashy as Brilliant Proofs and a few made it into circulation. This lightly circulated 1913 $2.50 Indian Head quarter eagle in Proof 58 brought just under $5,000 last year at auction.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Dec. 29 issue.

Proof gold coins from the mid-to-late 19th century through the early 20th century have long been coveted by collectors and have always been expensive. Someone looking at an entry-level example should be prepared to pay thousands of dollars for a decent example.

As a general rule, larger denominations are more expensive and eye appeal is especially important for these Proof coins that have surfaces that are highly unforgiving toward imperfections. In recent years, collectors have warmed to the more exotic Matte Finish Proofs of the early 20th century.

Here is one of three classic Proof gold coins that Coin World is analyzing this week:

The coin: 1913 Indian Head gold $2.50 quarter eagle, Proof 58 

The price: $4,993.75

The story: Matte Proof gold coins were produced for collectors at the Philadelphia Mint from 1908 through 1915. While all of the Coronet Proof coinage displays reflective fields with often frosty devices, Matte Proof Indian Head $2.50, $5 and $10 coins along with Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagles have a fine sandblast texture that reflects light with millions of microscopic facets. 

The visual experience of a Matte Proof is highly different than that of a Brilliant Proof, and it’s often considered an acquired taste.

Given the lack of flash, it’s not surprising that a few Matte Proof gold coins made it into circulation. This 1913 Indian Head $2.50 quarter eagle is graded Proof 58 by Professional Coin Grading Service and has the fine sandblast texture and razor-sharp strike that one expects with a Proof coin. It has just a touch of wear at the high points.

Given the lack of Matte Proof Indian Head $2.50 and $5 coins in lower grades like Proof 60 through Proof 63, this example presented an opportunity for a budget-minded collector when it brought $4,993.75 at a Jan. 11, 2013, Heritage auction. 

Read the rest of Steve Roach's "Under $10,000 Challenge" Market Analysis:

Toned 1898 Coronet quarter eagle comes in at $8,812.50

1883 Coronet eagle available at $5,287.50 due to impairment

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