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By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist and Consignment Director

​​The Coinage Act of April 2, 1792, authorized the production of three gold denominations at the newly established United States Mint including the $10 eagle, $5 half eagle, and the $2.50 quarter eagle. While half eagle and eagles were first struck in 1795, it would be 1796 before the first quarter eagles rolled off the presses. The half eagle turned out to be the most popular of the three denominations for general commerce, while the eagle was useful for large overseas transactions with Europe. The quarter eagle, however, did not prove especially useful.

By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist and Consignment Director

​At the time of issue in 1915, the round version of the Panama-Pacific Exposition $50 did not sell as well as the more unusual octagonal style. The result was that a greater percentage of the mintage was returned to the Mint for melting. Of the 1,500 round examples struck, only 483 were distributed, making this type the rarest collectible U.S. Mint commemorative coin. A good number of those sold, perhaps the majority, went into non-numismatic hands and as a result, they are occasionally seen with quite a bit of handling or other surface problems. 

By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist and Consignment Director

​For most collectors, the 1882-CC Morgan dollar is the quintessential Carson City issue. Just 1.1 million coins were struck, placing it among the lower mintages of the series and falling significantly behind the 11.1 million dollars struck in Philadelphia the same year. However, thanks to the Treasury and GSA releases in the 1960s and 1970s, it is likely that more than half of the original mintage survives and remains in the hands of collectors today. While many of these are in Uncirculated condition, most are in grades of MS-64 or lower due to bagmarks and other traces of handling or improper storage.

By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist and Consignment Director

​​The 1897, along with the 1898 and 1899, is the most consistently well produced and attractive Proof Liberty Head quarter eagle from the 19th century. Specialist John Dannreuther goes as far as calling this era the “pinnacle of [the] Mint’s gold Proof coinage.” Just a single die pair was used to strike all 136 Proof quarter eagles in 1897, and 70 to 80 examples have survived. We are thrilled to offer a desirable Proof-66 Ultra Cameo (NGC) piece in lot 1183 of our June 2020 Santa Ana Auction.

By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist and Consignment Director

​No specific documentation has ever been found detailing the origins of the enigmatic Continental "dollar.” The vast majority of surviving examples were struck in pewter, although a few silver and brass impressions are also known. These interesting early American pieces are very popular and always attract attention when we offer one at auction.

By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist and Consignment Director

​​The Proof 1958 Franklin half dollar is a modern rarity that presents a severe challenge to specialists seeking the highest grade levels. With only 875,652 Proof half dollars struck, the 1958 is the lowest mintage issue from the second half of the series, which would eventually reach a height of 3.21 million coins struck in 1962. While common in low grades, it is a significant condition rarity that faced issues with both production quality and preservation.

By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist

Throughout the 1840s, the United States Mint struck silver dollars only at the request of bullion depositors who asked for this denomination. There was no significant supply of domestically mined silver available during that decade, limiting the amount of bullion available for dollar coinage. The net result for the silver dollar was a decade of low mintages, the highest only 184,618 pieces in 1842.

By James McCartney, Senior Numismatist and Consignment Director

​​Few American rarities have been so carefully documented and studied for provenance as the 1823/2 Capped Bust quarters. The rarity of this date was already legendary by the time Montroville W. Dickeson wrote his 1859 American Numismatical Manual, where he pronounced this date “extremely rare.” In 1883, Harold P. Newlin posited that the four rarest U.S. silver coins were the 1802 half dime, the quarters of 1823 (all of which are 1823/2) and 1827, and the 1804 dollar, helping to contextualize the truly elusive nature of this issue.

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