DESCRIPTION Near-Gem 1805 Browning-3 QuarterMS-64 (PCGS)The Pogue Specimen1805 Draped Bust Quarter. B-3. Rarity-2. MS-64 (PCGS).
This is one of the finest known examples of this die variety, exhibiting thick toning of deep steel blue, autumnal gold, and violet. Thoroughly lustrous, the appearance of this piece is distinctive and attractive. The strike is excellent, with just slight softness at the eagle’s tail and the E of LIBERTY opposite it, as well as the top of the star cluster, which parallels the high point of Liberty’s shoulder. Only trivial marks are seen other than a contact point and a short scratch in the same area beneath ST of STATES. A die crack crosses the lower two points of star 4 on its way to Liberty’s hair; it disappears into Liberty’s shoulder before emerging below her bust, bisecting the 5 of the date and intersecting the rim. A more subtle crack connects the base of 1 to stars 1 and 2, and a similarly fine crack connects the tops of STAT. A single die clash is seen, most notable on the reverse. A very attractive piece whose satiny luster makes it stand out at this grade level.
The first two emissions of quarter dollars at the United States Mint were paltry, numbering fewer than 7,000 pieces each year in 1796 and 1804. In this era, bullion depositors were permitted to request any denomination they wished, and nearly everyone took their payment in silver dollars and gold coins. Many depositors made a significant profit by exporting these to the West Indies and elsewhere, where they could be exchanged on a one-to-one basis with Spanish colonial coins.
More than 120,000 quarters were struck in 1805, paid out by the Mint “whenever desired by the depositors, or not particularly objected to,” according to Mint Director Robert Patterson’s April 2, 1807, letter to President Jefferson, written on the 15th anniversary of the original legislation authorizing the U.S. Mint. Though the mintage for quarters ballooned in 1805, they were given to banks and commercial entities that immediately put them into circulation. Because of this, Mint State examples are rare today, with fewer high grade survivors from this mintage than the 1796 mintage that was just 5% as big. Of the five die marriages of 1805 quarters, one die marriage is confirmed to have just a single Mint State survivor, and another has none at all. Browning-3 was a bit more fortunate, with somewhere on the order of a half dozen Mint State specimens extant according to the Rea-Koenings-Haroutunian census. Among those half dozen B-3 examples, this one is tied with two others as finest.PCGS# 38925
.NGC ID: 23RC
PCGS Population (All 1805 Varieties): 4; 4 finer through MS-65.Superior Galleries’ session of Auction ’87, August 1987, lot 1713; Superior Galleries’ sale of the Worrell Collection, September 1993, lot 1257; Superior Galleries’ sale of August 1995, lot 114; Heritage’s sale of January 1999, lot 6585; Ira and Larry Goldberg’s sale of May 2006, lot 1745; our/Sotheby's sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part I, May 2015, lot 1053.