July 6, 2010
Coin collecting is without question a hobby full of imagination and many times is filled with wording that is recognized only by numismatists.
In 1952, a proof Washington Quarter was produced containing a letter "S" on the eagle's chest on the reverse of the coin. Once, this was discovered, creative collectors and specialists with wild imaginations quickly referred to this anomaly as a Superbird Quarter, comparing it to the Superman hero character. Some believe the coin was produced intentionally by a U.S. Mint employee in relation to the new Superman T.V. series that was widely popular at the time.
A 1952 Washington Proof Quarter with the Superbird variety will display the letter "S" on the center of the Eagle's chest on the reverse of the coin. The top portion of the "S" is more prominent and the lower part of the "S" is more faint but still detectable with a 5X glass. This variety is now widely recognized by many variety specialists and numismatic references, as well as PCGS under the Variety Attribution program. It is definitely worth examining all 1952 proof sets or 1952 proof quarters. Finding the Superbird variety will not only make your day enjoyable but it will also be financially rewarding.
Currently, the 1952 Superbird variety is quite scarce and with cameo or deep cameo surfaces, it becomes even scarcer. Proof Washington Quarters from 1952 without the Superbird variety have also proved to be extremely difficult to find with cameo and deep cameo surfaces. This date is considered to be one of the toughest dates in the 1950s for the Washington Quarter series with Cameo and Deep Cameo surfaces.
As of today, the PCGS Population Report shows 11 total coins with the deep cameo designation out of more than 1,800 total coins submitted. It is very likely that most coins have already been reviewed by collectors and dealers trying to find examples with cameo and deep cameo surfaces. These coins usually command a significant premium over non-cameo and non-deep cameo coins.
The population figures are a good indicator of the current scarcity of cameo and deep cameo quarters. The most recent population figures indicate that the 1950 and 1952 Quarter have the lowest population figures for Washington Quarters with the deep cameo designation. To make things more challenging for this date, there is the elusive Superbird variety which commands a significant premium when it can be found.
Currently the PCGS Price Guide shows a retail price of $135 for a regular 1952 Washington Quarter graded PCGS PR67 without any variety. A 1952 Superbird variety graded PCGS PR67 sold in a public auction for over $425. A big difference in pricing and it's definitely worth checking all proof 1952 Quarters for this elusive variety.
The 1952 Proof Washington Quarters have proved to be extremely challenging but yet very rewarding when found with the Superbird variety, and even more rewarding if found with cameo or deep cameo surfaces.
Out of the 81,980 total proof sets produced for 1952, many sets have been broken apart for years by enthusiasts and collectors, in hopes of finding scare coins displaying cameo and deep cameo surfaces. Today, finding original unopened proof sets is very difficult but for knowledgeable collectors this provides a good opportunity to cherry pick the Superbird variety on opened sets, as many collectors are unaware of the Superbird variety and have only searched for the cameo and deep cameo coins. Additionally, the Superbird variety is currently only found on 1952 Proof Washington Quarters.