Extremely Rare “Little Princess” 1841 Quarter Eagle a Major Highlight of the Spring 2024 Rarities Night Auction

Few coins in American numismatics capture the imagination as much as the 1841 quarter eagle. By the 1950s the rarity of the 1841 quarter eagle was known, and Abe Kosoff and Norman Stack both began calling this classic “the Little Princess.”

 A minuscule, unrecorded mintage and a wide grade range of survivors have led to much conjecture and speculation as to their format, the number produced, and reason for their striking. Today, only 15 are known in all grades, from Gem Proof quality all the way down to Good. For years, numismatists theorized that the 1841 was a Proof only issue, and that the circulated examples (about half of the known survivors are in circulated grades), started as Proofs that ended up in commerce. That was the standard narrative until about a dozen years ago, when the experts at PCGS began studying the coins. Even though they were all struck from a single die pair (and the reverse die was also used to strike all the Proof quarter eagles of the 1840s), there were some examples that were not struck as Proofs, and PCGS began certifying them as business strikes.

Our Spring 2024 Rarities Night will feature an example that PCGS graded MS-60. This piece, like the one we offered in 2012 (the first to be offered with a Business Strike designation), had been unknown to the collecting community until it came up for sale by Christie’s in 1985, after it had been discovered in a safe deposit box. Most recently it was sold as part of the Poulos Family Collection by Heritage in August 2019. In its last two appearances the coin was graded Proof-55 by NGC; it has since been re-evaluated by the experts at PCGS where they determined that this example was not only a business strike, but also showed no signs of wear and assigned it the grade of MS-60.

This very exciting coin will cross the block on Rarities Night with other extremely important items. We are still selectively accepting consignments for Rarities Night. Call or email your favorite consignment specialist today.

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