Estimated grade. Ex. Mickley; Appleton; Woodward (1883) Sold by Bowers & Ruddy Mar '80 Price realized $75000
David Akers (1975/88): The 1826 is the lowest mintage date of this type and also one of the lowest mintage dates in the entire quarter eagle series. I have seen fewer of this date than I have of any other of this type, although the 1827 is a close second. As a general rule, the 1826 is probably the most sharply struck of all dates of this type, with the possible exception of the 1821.
Most cataloguers claim that the 1825 is an overdate but I feel that this is extremely doubtful. It is my guess that the abnormalities under the 6 are the result of recutting and not a numeral 5. The known specimens of 1826 are certainly from a different obverse die than any known 1825 and this is most obvious by comparing the size of the stars. The stars are much larger on the 1826 than they are on the 1825. (Note: the stars on the 1821, 1824/1 and 1825 are all very small, while those on the 1826 and 1827 are relatively large.)
The 1826 Quarter Eagle is a very rare date, created by an initially low mintage, followed by the destruction of most examples in subsequent meltings whenever the gold price exceeded the face value. The majority of the survivors are in relativrly high grade (Extremely Fine or better), indicating that most were saved by collectors. Only one Mint State example is known, that being the Garrett Collection piece sold in 1980 for a record price (then and still) of $75,000.
How many 1826 Quarter Eagles exist today? A survey of the auction appearances over the past twenty years results in at least 17 demonstrably different examples. Thus, a guesstimate in the range of 30-35 survivors seems reasonable.
National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution
William Sumner Appleton Collection - Joseph J. Mickley Collection - W. Elliot Woodward, sold privately on 1/23/1883 - T. Harrison Garrett Collection - Robert Garrett Collection - John Work Garrett Collection - Johns Hopkins University Collection - Bowers & Ruddy 3/1980:746, $75,000