US Coins

Market Analysis: Is this 1831 $2.50 coin a pattern, or is it an error?

Another fascinating issue with a problem was offered at last summer’s Stack’s Bowers Galleries Rarities Night auction, Aug. 25, 2022: an 1831 Capped Head $2.50 quarter eagle struck on a dime planchet.

Graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as Very Fine Details, Tooled, this is one of three known examples.

They are traditionally collected as pattern issues, listed as Judd 49 in the pattern reference. Modern scholarship leans toward it being a Mint error rather than a pattern, as two of the three survivors are well-worn. Significant wear suggests that the subject offering may have even spent years in circulation, where it likely passed as a dime.

The cataloger adds, “These pieces date to a time in the Mint’s history when the deliberate creation of rarities for sale to contemporary collectors was still nearly three decades in the future,” summarizing, “In other words, there was likely no intent on the part of Mint employees to pair quarter eagle dies with silver planchets in 1831.”

The coin realized $28,800.

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