the finest cameo designated specimen graded at PCGS,
this low mintage Very Choice Proof 1890 Quarter Eagle,
PCGS Proof 63 Cameo. Please contact me by email
or telephone to reserve this great coin.
1890 Quarter Eagle - 1890 $2.50 PCGS
PF63 CAM. This rare, low mintage 1890 Choice proof Cameo
quarter eagle is the finest known at PCGS. The coin
has outstanding contrast between its frosted devices
and mirrored fields. Its surfaces are original and clean
for the grade with virtually no visible hairlines or
contact marks. The smudges on the reverse are on the
holder not the coin. As expected the strike is hammered
with full details on the centers of the stars, Liberty’s
hair, the eagle’s neck, and the area to the lower
left of the shield. The dentils are full and sharp on
this eye-appealing piece.
Christian Gobrecht’s quarter eagle was produced
without substantial modification from 1840 to 1907,
the longest span in any United States coinage series.
It uses the coronet motif, which shows Liberty facing
left, her hair tied tightly in beads, except for two
curls one down the back of her neck and the other
on the side below her ear, with LIBERTY inscribed
on the coronet. She is surrounded by thirteen stars,
and the date is below the truncation. The reverse
shows the heraldic eagle facing left holding arrows
and olive branch it its talons. The inscription UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA arcs around it, interrupted by the
wing tips, and the denomination 2 ½ D., is
below. The denomination is separated from the legend
with dots. The weight remained the same, but the diameter
was reduced from the previous issue to 18 millimeters.
The coinage act of 1865 specified that motto IN GOD
WE TRUST should be added to all coins large enough
to accommodate it. The Mint interpreted this law to
mean that the motto had to be added to silver coins
larger than the dime and gold half eagles, eagles
and double eagles. Because of its size, the quarter
eagle was exempt.
Beginning in 1859 a modified reverse design was
used on business strike and proof Philadelphia coins.
It had smaller letters and arrowheads. Some pieces
in 1859, 60, and 61 were struck with the old design
after the change was made.
Gobrecht became the third Chief Engraver at the United
States Mint. He was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania in
1785. His father was a German immigrant, and his mother
traced her ancestry to the early settlers of Plymouth,
Massachusetts. Gobrecht married Mary Hewes in 1818.
One of his early positions was as an engraver of clocks
in Baltimore. Later he went to Philadelphia where he
became a banknote engraver. He invented a machine that
allowed one to convert a three-dimensional medal into
an illustration. In 1826 Gobrecht did his first work
for the Mint as an assistant to William Kneass. After
Kneass suffered a debilitating stroke, Gobrecht did
all the die and pattern work for the Mint. He became
Chief Engraver in 1840 and served until his death in
1844. He was famous for his Liberty Seated motif, which
was used for all denominations of silver coinage including
the half-dime, dime, quarter dollar, half dollar and
silver dollar. He also designed the Liberty Head gold
eagle, a motif that was also used on the half-cent,
the cent, the gold quarter eagle, and the gold half
The 1890 proof quarter eagle had an original mintage
of 93, making it fundamentally rare in all grades.
Today only 50 to 60 pieces are known. In its population
report, PCGS shows only one, the present coin, in
Proof 63 CAC with none finer.