The Survival Estimate represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in three categories: 1) all grades, 2) 60 or better, and 3) 65 or better. These estimates are based on a variety of sources, including population reports, auction appearances, and personal knowledge. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Numismatic Rarity converts the Survival Estimate for a particular coin into a number from 1 to 10 (with decimal increments) based on the PCGS Rarity Scale. The higher the number, the more rare the coin.
Relative Rarity By Type
Relative Rarity By Type ranks the rarity of this coin with all other coins of this Type. Lower numbers indicate rarer coins.
Relative Rarity By Series
Relative Rarity By Series ranks the rarity of this coin with all other coins of this Series. Lower numbers indicate rarer coins.
Philadelphia Mint circulation strike quarters from 1879 to 1889 have low mintages ranging from 5,000 to 15,200. The reason for these tiny mintage figures was the Bland-Allison Silver Act of 1878. The Act mandated the minting of prodigious amounts of dollar coins to satisfy Western mining interests. This taxed the Mint's coining and die making machinery which resulted in meager production of sorely needed minor coinage. This situation was not corrected until 1892 with the introduction of the new Barber coinage.
With survival estimates in the 15% range, circulation strike 1879 to 1989 quarters were, and still are, highly sought by date collectors and hoarded by some.
Quickfinder Notes: With the 1880 mintage of 13,600 "business" strike pieces, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish proof-like first strikes from proofs. The same difficulty is encountered when examining well worn specimens. Proof expert, John Dannreuther, notes some positional date differences between proof and mint state specimens. But, on this date, there is also a "tell" on the reverse. On Mint State pieces, the second, recessed, undulation of the scroll from the left is FULL and COMPLETE. On proofs the interior of that part of the scroll has been polished away and only TWO THIN OUTER BORDER LINES remain.
We have noted two proof die EXCEPTIONS to the "COMPLETE SCROLL" rule. One is a very rare "proof only" issue which uses the Type I reverse die of 1872 engraved by James B. Longacre. This issue has a fully struck scroll but can be identified by a DIE CUT from the left border of the shield into the feathers. The second COMPLETE SCROLL die used on proofs is from the Type II reverse hub created by Charles Barber. This die is identified by TWO RAISED LUMPS on the first undulation at the left end of the scroll and also some raised DIE FLAWS at the CENTER of the SHIELD.
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