Celebrating America with Commemorative 20th Century Gold
By Brian Zweig
Can you name all the Quarter Eagles struck by the U.S. Mint in the 20th century?
If you only guessed Liberty and Indian Head, you’d be halfway correct. Don’t feel too bad; even advanced numismatists sometimes get this question wrong.
Unbeknownst to many, the United States issued two unusual commemorative Quarter Eagles in the early 20th century. They are significantly rarer than their Liberty and Indian Head counterparts – yet sell for a surprisingly affordable price. Today, for our March spotlight coin, we’re excited to offer one of these coins in beautiful Gem Uncirculated condition for the first time ever.
Commemorative coins represent a fascinating segment of American numismatics. It’s believed that the very first “commem” was struck in 1848; a small number of Quarter Eagles were stamped with “CAL” on the reverse that year. This was the U.S. Mint’s way of celebrating an influx of bullion from the California Gold Rush. Since then, the Mint has issued many commemorative pieces in silver, gold, and copper-nickel clad.
Although hundreds of commemorative coins have been issued over the decades, very few were struck in gold. There’s an easy explanation: affordability. It is far easier for the average collector to obtain a Half Dollar or Dollar coin versus something made of gold. This was especially true when the commemorative program first began in the 1800's. Most vintage commems were released in silver only; just a select few were struck in gold.
America’s Sesquicentennial (i.e. its 150th anniversary) was considered a momentous occasion that it called for both a silver and gold commemorative coin. In addition to producing a popular silver Half Dollar coin in 1926, the U.S. Mint offered a $2.50 Quarter Eagle as well. The Mint expected significant demand and struck over 46,000 pieces, but it’s believed that many of these coins either went unsold or were melted after landing in collectors’ hands.
It’s hard to say how many $2.50 Sesquicentennial gold coins are still in existence today, but PCGS and NGC population reports indicate that well under half have survived. Of those, the lion’s share is between AU50-MS64 grades. This is to be expected for a commemorative coin as relatively few entered circulation and most were stashed away as souvenirs. By comparison, a circulating gold coin from this era is more likely to be seen in VF-XF condition.
In Gem Uncirculated condition, the $2.50 “Sesqui” is particularly hard to find. Why? Unlike today’s commemorative coins, which are handled carefully post-production, vintage commems were often jostled around in hoppers before being distributed to collectors. They may have remained in Uncirculated condition, but they likely picked up some contact marks along the way. Furthermore, an MS 65 coin must display a vibrant mint luster. Not all vintage coins are created equal – and the amount of flash can vary tremendously from one specimen to another.
Today's Spotlight Coin
Today, we’re excited to offer a group of MS 65 $2.50 Sesquicentennial Quarter Eagles for the first time ever.
You might wonder what’s taken us so long to highlight this coin – and we have a simple explanation. For years, the $2.50 Sesqui was priced significantly higher. Back in 2006, we remember when this coin peaked at almost $7,000! As recently as last year, NGC pegged its value at $3,100. Now, you can add this rare commemorative to your collection for well under $1,500 per piece.
There’s a good reason why it’s taken us six years to highlight this coin – and it may be just as long before it’s available again!
We are making available twenty-three (23) specimens in PCGS/NGC MS 65 at $1,325 each with free shipping.*
To give you an idea of how reasonable this is, our rate is:
- 35% off the current NGC Price Guide value of $2,025
- 65% off the peak 2018 NGC Price Guide value of $3,100
- 80% off the peak NGC Price Guide value of $6,820
- Below the current value of an MS 65 $2.50 Indian (which is MUCH less available compared to the $2.50 Sesqui)
No matter how you look at it, the $2.50 Sesquicentennial Quarter Eagle is one of the best values in vintage U.S. gold today. It’s a scarce commemorative issue that is currently available for less than a standard issue $2.50 Indian in MS65. Furthermore, at today’s levels, you are saving literally thousands per coin. Previously, collectors paid many times over the current price just to own one.
This coin may have come down in price, but it’s no less scarce than it was before. This is why we’ve only been able to secure 23 pieces in total. If you are looking to complete your U.S. gold type collection, or just add something truly unique and special to your holdings, we urge you to pounce on this offering.
Please call us today at 800-831-0007 or email us to own the commemorative $2.50 Sesquicentennial Quarter Eagle at a surprisingly affordable rate.
*Prices subject to change based on market fluctuation and product availability. Prices reflected are for cash, check, or bank wire. Free shipping, handling, and insurance are available for all quantities ordered. Offer expires Friday, March 8, 2019, or while supplies last.