US Coins

Off-center 1818/5 Capped Bust quarter in Kagin's sale

An 1818/5 Capped Bust quarter dollar graded MS-65 by PCGS is struck 5 percent off center and has a rich provenance.

Images courtesy of Kagin’s Auctions.

The American Numismatic Association National Money Show is set for the Irving Convention Center in metropolitan Dallas March 8 to 10. Kagin’s Auctions will host the show’s official auctions on March 8 and 9, with an online session on March 10, and is offering free ANA online memberships to all registered bidders.

One of the more unusual coins in the auction is an 1818/5 Capped Bust quarter dollar graded Mint State 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service that is struck 5 percent off center. The coin is struck off center at approximately 11 o’clock relative to the obverse with the unstruck portion visible at roughly 5 to 7 o’clock on the obverse. The reverse die shows several cracks and it is the latest die state of the Browning 1 variety as cataloged in The Early Quarter Dollars of the United States: 1796-1838 by A.W. Browning. It is listed in a special section on error coins in Steve M. Tompkin’s more recent series reference of the same title.

The offered error is one of several off-center examples known of the Browning 1 variety and was last offered at auction at a November 2002 Bowers and Merena sale where it sold for $5,060. It previously sold at a 1993 Heritage auction for $4,400 and was formerly part of the James A. Stack and F.C.C. Boyd collections, where it was offered as part of Numismatic Gallery’s “World’s Greatest Collection Sale” in March 1945.

A total of 89,235 quarter dollars were struck in 1815 and the denomination was not produced for the next two years. When production of quarters resumed in 1818, workmen at the Philadelphia Mint punched an 8 over the 5 on an unused 1815 die and created this variety, which is listed as a distinct variety in the “Red Book.”

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On the subject coin Kagin’s observes, “Here is one of those coins where the challenge of conveying its eye appeal in words is doomed to fall short,” adding, “The frosty golden-gray surfaces are enriched by a deep halo of navy blue on the right obverse rim and in the lower field as well, while the golden-gray reverse shares the spotlight with fiery orange, crimson, and blue peripheral iridescence.”


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