1862-S $2.50 Liberty PCGS AU55. All gold issued during the Civil War years seem to be popular no matter what the economic climate, especially 1862. Garrett and Guth describe the 1862-S $2.50 as “…struck in far fewer numbers than coins of the previous few years at the San Francisco Mint. The date is very rare in any grade and extremely rare in Mint State.” From an original mintage of 8,000 coins, PCGS estimates that fewer than 100 survive. Noted gold expert and author David Akers says of the 1862-S “…Without a doubt, the 1862-S is one of the major “sleepers” in the entire quarter eagle series, and any specimen grading EF or better should be considered highly desirable.”
The Goldberg’s, in a recent catalog description, cited this interesting piece of trivia surrounding the issue: “In 1862, while the Treasury Department was no longer paying out Philadelphia Mint quarter eagles at par due to exigencies of the War economy, on the West Coast, in San Francisco, freshly minted coins were placed directly into commerce. As explained in some detail in the book, The Treasure Ship S.S. Brother Jonathan, the West Coast operated on an entirely different monetary system during the Civil War–with scarcely a Legal Tender note in circulation in San Francisco, but many gold coins in evidence. On the East Coast just the opposite was true: paper money abounded, and silver and gold coins were hoarded, nowhere to be seen.”
The present coin is a Type I reverse, as are all 1862-S quarter eagles. This one displays a sharp strike with luster, and a medium orange-gold color. A small blotch of foreign substance is noted at the base of star 11, and a mark on Liberty’s forehead, otherwise an impressive issue and rare in this condition.