1842 $2.50 Liberty PCGS MS61. PCGS states 50 to 60 known and has graded 36 in all conditions! This specimen is one of less than five Mint State survivors from a scant original mintage of 2,823 coins. Prior to the recent discovery of this coin in Arizona, it was unknown to the numismatic community. In fact, according to David Akers, between the years of 1863 and 1915, this date was considered to be semi-unique, as only two coins had ever been traced! We note that other high-grade examples all share a slight strike weakness on the eagle’s left leg, but other than that, this coin is extremely well struck. It has moderate marks in both obverse and reverse fields which we surmise was caused by contact with others coins in this collection.
The 1842 quarter eagle is more rare than most of the popular C and D Mint issues, including some of the rarest ones, and it is also more rare, all grades considered, than the ultra-low mintage 1875. In fact, among the the Liberty Head Quarter Eagle issues, only the famous 1841 and 1854-S are indisputably more rare than the 1842. Walter Breen notes as such in his Encyclopedia when he states, “Long believed of extreme rarity, but after World War I several low grade survivors turned up; still prohibitively rare in AU, unknown in UNC.”
We note that there is an auction record in September 1999 of a PCGS MS62 for $31,900. To-date, the PCGS published price of $30,000 has only changed once since it was first released in April of 2005. That’s what we see all too often when a particularly rare coin never appears at auction and there is no supporting documentation for pricing. Since the aforementioned 1875 appear much more often than the 1842, price movement for the 1875 is seen quite often. For example, the 1875 has increased in price by $10,000 over the same period the 1842 has not. Just sayin’…!