US Coins

Puzzling 1866 pattern Coronet $2.50 sees $23,500

Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s hosted their Rarities Auction on May 25 in New York City after the Pogue IV auction the prior night. The second sale realized $1,893,688.75. It offered bidders a wide range of important issues including a key group of foreign gold coins counterstamped by New York goldsmiths Ephraim Brasher and John Burger that are popular with collectors seeking examples of gold coins that circulated in Colonial America.

The Coin:

1866 Coronet $2.50 quarter eagle pattern, Proof 66, CAC

The Price:


The Story:

This 1866 Coronet quarter eagle pattern is a puzzle. Classified as Judd 542 and Pollock 607 in the series references, it is struck on a nickel planchet from the regular dies used to strike circulation coinage and has a reeded edge.

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The auction lot entry records, “Despite the traditional listing of this type as a regular dies trial striking of the 1866 quarter eagle in nickel, and hence a pattern, modern numismatic scholarship entertains the possibility that Judd-542 may actually be a Mint error.”

It was last offered at an April 2015 Heritage auction certified NGC MS-66 as an error struck on a planchet for a copper-nickel 3-cent coin where it brought $25,850. At that sale Heritage observed, “the sheer rarity of the regular 1866 quarter eagle issue in Mint State will likely play a factor in this error coin’s popularity.”

Now housed in a PCGS Proof 66 encapsulation and identified as a pattern, at the Stack’s Bowers Rarities Auction it sold for $23,500.

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