1913 $2.5 PF-68 NGC
Bela Lyon Pratt, designer
Obverse: In sunk relief: Head of Indian left, wearing a feathered war bonnet; thirteen stars; broken above by LIBERTY, and below by the date (1913); below truncation of bust, designer's initials, B.L.P.
Reverse: In sunk relief: Eagle standing left on a bundle of arrows entwined with a laurel branch; above, UNITEDSTATESOFAMERICA; below, 2½ DOLLARS; to left, E / PLURIBUS / UNUM, in three lines; to right, IN / GOD / WE / TRUST, in four lines.
Condition: NGC Proof 68 (Certificate number: 1963253-005 - Photo Proof 10-07).
With attractive milky-pale matte surfaces, tightly granular with diamond-like sparkle; without the shiny spots that so often mar this most delicate of surfaces. A mint-made inclusion above the eagle's beak and a minor mint-caused circular dimple by star nine serve to identify this superb specimen.
References: Breen (Encyclopedia) 6336; Garrett & Guth (Encyclopedia) p. 139; Breen (Proofs) p. 215; Akers (1975) p. 220-221; United States Mint, Operating Records, "Medal Book," 1906-1916, NARA, Philadelphia. (PCGS 7962)
Condition Census: Tied for finest known. There are only three other coins which have been graded as this well preserved by NGC and none finer. PCGS records a single Proof 67 as the finest they have graded. (07-13)
Rarity: Very rare. For once, the traditionally reported mintage of 165 proofs agrees with the Medal Book in the National Archives. In fact the gross mintage was 175 less ten rejected pieces. The entire issue was produced on a single day (along with all the other three denominations), January 11, 1913. Akers didn't speculate as to the total population, nor did Breen. More recently, Garrett and Guth have called it one of the scarcer issues of the matte proof quarter eagle series, and in this superb state of condition it is a significant rarity. The combined NGC and PCGS census reports for the entire Satin and Matte Proof quarter eagle series list no coins finer than Proof 68. The PCGS auction records list only one 1913 Proof 68 quarter eagle (this piece) appearing at auction over a twenty year period.
Provenance: Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctions, February 20-23, 2005, lot 2179, NGC Proof 68, "An immaculate shimmering gem...absolutely stunning." ($40,250)
Note: The changeover from the Satin Finish proofs of 1909-1910 to the Matte, or Sandblast, proofs was in part due to collector complaints. Most notable among these was later Secretary of the Treasury, William H. Woodin, who in no uncertain terms expressed his dismay of their "rotten" nature. It was a reaction to the surfaces of the Satin proofs which, unlike the mirrored surfaces to which collectors had become accustomed, were flat and made them look like early circulation strikes, and therefore nothing 'special.' The preferred Matte Proofs were struck in the same manner as the Satin Proofs, but post-striking were then subjected to light sandblasting, which makes each coin slightly different from the other, and with surfaces that are extremely delicate.