US Coins

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

Unusual toning is seen on this memorable 1898 $2.50 quarter eagle graded Proof 63 Deep Cameo that brought $8,812.50 in a Dec. 4 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: 1898 Coronet $2.50 quarter eagle, Proof 63 Deep Cameo

The price: $8,812.50

The story: It’s highly unusual to come across a gold coin that has toning on its surfaces. That’s because gold is not a particularly reactive metal. But gold is also a relatively weak metal so it is usually alloyed with copper and silver for circulating coins and that’s when interesting color can occur. 

This 1898 Coronet $2.50 quarter eagle is graded Proof 63 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service. It’s from a mintage of just 165 Proof pieces—typical for the era—and has strong cameo contrast. Cameo contrast occurs when frosted devices are set against mirrored fields. 

The color, as described by Heritage—“sky-blue patches at the margins counterbalance sunset-gold color at the centers, with residual glints of teal and magenta adding extra pizzazz”—makes the piece memorable. 

It brought a strong $8,812.50 at Heritage’s Dec. 4 Houston Money Show auction.

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

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

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

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