1831 25C Small Letters MS64. B-4, R.1. Minage: 398,000. No quarters were struck in 1829 or 1830, and when the denomination resumed production in 1831, the diameter was reduced from 27 mm to 24.3 mm. The weight and alloy were unchanged, which implies that the new quarters were thicker. Half eagles also were reduced in diameter, beginning in 1829, but otherwise retained prior alloy and weight standards. These changes in diameter were made to conform to the new close collar technology introduced to the Philadelphia Mint. However, Capped Bust halves, which then dominated silver coin production, continued to be struck with lettered edges until the 1836 Reeded Edge halves were produced. This is a lustrous and brilliant silver-white example of the Capped Bust quarter dollar design. Star 7 points to lower curl, the lower right star is close to the hair, square based 2 in the denomination, eagle has long tongue, 25 C closer to eagle than dentils, 25 is high and the arrow heads are thin. There are remnants of die rust above and left of the final S in STATES. This is a later die state of the B-4 variety with a fine die crack through the C of the denomination to the stem above, and another connecting the lower left base of the A in AMERICA with the middle serif of F in OF. Repunching shows on the 5 of the denomination. This is Die State III in Walter Breen's revision of the Browning reference, apparently the most common die state of this variety. Only the barest glimpse of a golden patina accompanies this needle-sharp near-Gem. The strike is exquisite and a strong lens reveals only trivial contact. A wonderful type coin from the Age of Jackson from The Lanterman's Mill Collection.
Gordon Wrubel: Quickfinder Notes: 1831 was the year of transition to the new close collar reduced diameter (24mm versus 28mm) quarter coinage. In order to get the best striking results from his design, William Kneass tried two different letter sizes for the reverse die. The Small Letter reverse can be distinguished not only by their smaller size, as they are about as WIDE as they are TALL. The letters are also noticeably FARTHER AWAY from the rim than the Large Letter variety. The Large Letters appear to be TALLER than they are WIDE and are placed CLOSER to the rim. In total population, the Small Letter variety is about five times more common than the Large Letter variety. The Mint State population difference is even more striking with about eight times as many examples graded than the Large Letter variety.
American Numismatic Rarities "Classics Sale" 3/2004:533, $36,800 - James W. Lull Collection - Bowers & Merena 1/2005:680, $41,400 - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack’s/Bowers & Sotheby’s 5/2015:1081, $55,812.50
RARCOA “Auction ‘90” 8/1990:644 - Heritage 6/2006:1310, $46,000 - Joseph C. Thomas Collection - Heritage 4/2009:2328, $37,375 - Larry Hanks (as agent(?) - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack’s/Bowers & Sotheby’s 5/2015:1079, $35,250