1846-C $2.50 XF40

CERTIFICATION#: -35119
PCGS#: 7741

Owner's Comments

Estimated grade. Ex. Melish; Kosoff Sale (1956) Sold by David Akers Numismatics May '98 Price realized $11000

Expert Comments

David Akers (1975/88): This is one of the rarest date quarter eagles in the series, although it certainly does not have the reputation of many other dates that are significantly less rare. An 1846-C in any condition is highly desirable, but most of the available specimens (and there are not that many) grade VF or so. The finest specimen I have seen was the uncirculated coin in the 1972 ANA Sale that unfortunately had been immersed in saltwater.Doug Winter: After the Charlotte Mint reopened in October 1846, production of quarter eagles and half eagles was very limited. The 1846-C has the second lowest mintage figure of any year in which this denomination was struck (the 1855-C has the lowest; the 1843-C Small Date also has a lower mintage figure but it is, technically, a variety and its mintage is included as a part of the total for the year 1843).

The 1846-C quarter eagle is scarce in all grades. The majority of the survivors grade EF-40 and below and AU50 examples are about as nice as most collectors can hope for. This date becomes rare in the higher AU grades. There are more Uncirculated pieces in existence than generally believed and the collector is about as likely to be offered an MS61 or an MS62 as he is an AU55 to AU58. However, Mint State pieces are still very rare.

STRIKE: This is a better struck issue than most people realize. The obverse is sharper than the reverse but it nearly always lacks strong detail on the curls around the face. The tops of BERT in LIBERTY are frequently weak. Some of the stars are blunt with no detail on the radial lines while others are sharp. The denticles are quite bold. The reverse is often weak in the center. The bottom of the eagle’s neck and the top of the shield appear to have little or no definition while the inner portions of the wings, legs and claws are more sharply delineated. The border is sharper and the denticles can be quite bold. The reverse usually shows multiple clashmarks from the beak to the wing, at the inside of the left wing and below the arrows.

SURFACES: The obverse almost always shows mint-made granularity, due to die rust, near the date, the fourth through the eighth and the final star. Die rust can also be seen on the reverse below the eagle’s right wing, in and below the fraction, under the N in UNITED, below the second T in STATES and under the IC in AMERICA. This rust is probably attributable to the fact that the dies sat unattended for two years (assuming that they were shipped to Charlotte in 1844) and were used after the mint reopened since no new, fresh dies were available. Most 1946-C quarter eagles circulated extensively and the fields show deep, detracting abrasions. A number have scratches or show other signs of abuse. A few are known with matte-like surfaces due to immersion is seawater. Although these coins may have the sharpness of Uncirculated, they are generally accorded the value of an Extremely Fine coin.

LUSTER: Most 1846-C quarter eagles are worn to the point that they show little if any luster. Higher grade examples do show very good luster which tends to be frosty in texture with a slight degree of reflectiveness in the fields. Many examples have been cleaned and/or dipped and have impaired luster as a result.

COLORATION: A broad range of colors have been seen on original, uncleaned examples. Lower grade pieces tend to show a coppery-orange or deep green-gold hue while higher grade pieces are either medium green-gold or a brighter yellow-gold. There are not more than a handful that retain their original coloration.

EYE APPEAL: This is an issue that must be studied before it can be appreciated. The aforementioned die rust on the surfaces can make original, higher grade pieces appear to be “problem” coins to the uninformed collector. It is extremely hard to find an 1846-C quarter eagle with good eye appeal although a few very nice Uncirculated pieces are known.

DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There is a pronounced dot between the 1 and the 8 in the date that is from the die rust described above.

DIE VARIETIES: Only one die variety is known.

Variety 1 (formerly Variety 7-F): The 1 in the date is a bit closer to the denticles than to the bust while the 6 is very close to the denticles and distant from the bust. Extra metal can be seen between the crossbar and the base of the 4 and within the upper loop of the 6. This is the result of a defective date punch. There is also an extra digit below the 1 which is visible only in very early die state pieces. The reverse was used in 1846, 1847 and 1848. The mintmark is large and is located far to the right, filling the space between the feathers and the branch. The serif of the mintmark is joined to the branch. The fraction bar extends to the left edge of the mintmark. The mintmark is the same distance from the fraction bar and the D. The obverse and the reverse show considerable die rust as described above.

Diameter: 18.00 millimeters Designer: Christian Gobrecht Edge: Reeded
Mintage: 4,808 Weight: 4.18 grams Metal Content: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

Rarity and Survival Estimates

Grades Survival Estimate Numismatic Rarity Relative Rarity by Type Relative Rarity by Series
All Grades 100 R-8.0 32 / 147 TIE 32 / 147 TIE
60 or Better 6 R-9.7 27 / 147 TIE 27 / 147 TIE
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 147 1 / 147

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS64 PCGS grade  

S.H. Chapman “David Wilson” 3/1907- John H. Clapp - Clapp Estate, 1942 - Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. - Bowers & Merena 10/1982:137 - Harry W. Bass, Jr. - Bowers & Merena 10/1999:381 - Heritage 8/2001:7610 - Heritage 4/2012:5216 - Heritage 1/2013:5822, $47,000

2 MS63 PCGS grade  

Mike Brownlee - Winthrop Carner - Paul Dingler Collection, 1994 - Pinnacle Rarities/Heritage Rare Coin Galleries - Jeffrey Fisher Collection - Heritage 2/2009:2470 - Heritage 6/2012:4155 (as PCGS MS63), not sold

3 MS62 PCGS grade  
3 MS62 PCGS grade  
3 MS62 estimated grade