Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Quarters (1838-1891)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 466,000
Catalog: KM-64.1
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 6.6800g
ASW: 0.1933oz
Melt Value: $3.33 (10/2/2014)
Diameter: 24.3mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1838 SEATED 25C MS obverse 1838 SEATED 25C MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

R.W. Julian's article 'Gobrecht's Seated Liberty,' published in the July 2003 edition of the magazine Coins, offers an excellent overview of how the eponymous design made its way to the quarter dollar. The Liberty Seated obverse, which Julian credits to a collaboration between engraver Christian Gobrecht and artists Titian Peale and Thomas Sully, was created for the silver dollar, but its use spread quickly to other denominations:

?The designs were so well received that [Mint Director Robert] Patterson soon sought permission to improve the looks of the dimes and half dimes by putting the seated figure on the obverse. ... Once the dimes and half dimes had received the seated figure of Liberty, the quarter dollar came next. Gobrecht prepared the dies in the summer of 1838 and in September several trial pieces were sent to Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury and President Martin Van Buren for their inspection. Approval was soon forthcoming and coinage quickly began. Demand was strong enough that 466,000 pieces were struck by year's end.?

Julian further notes that while Gobrecht's obverse design was artistically successful, it created certain technical challenges that Mint Director Patterson decided to rectify. In a different article, 'Collectors Clamor for Seated Liberty Quarters' in the February 29, 2000 edition of Numismatic News, Julian describes the change made and how it affects the way today's collectors approach the series:

'The quarter coinage of 1838-1840, without drapery, is increasingly obtained by type collectors because of the distinct difference in the obverse dies. This variety was struck at Philadelphia in 1838 and 1839 but also at New Orleans in 1840, the dies for the latter were sent off before all the changes were in place. Philadelphia coined only the variety with drapery in 1840.

'Sculptor Robert Ball Hughes had been hired by Director Patterson to slightly redesign the silver coinage, especially the Seated Liberty figures, the change of drapery at the elbow is a mark of Hughes' work. The point of the make-over was to reduce the height of the figure so that the coins would strike up better in the available coining presses.'

While the 2010 edition of the Guide Book does not specify the No Drapery Seated quarters as a subtype, many collectors do consider them such, among them James W. Lull, previous owner of the present example, he assembled a high-end type collection which included both this 1838 quarter and an 1857 quarter, which would be redundant for type purposes if not for the No Drapery versus Drapery nicety.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/25/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1838 SEATED 25C MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 33.00 40.00 58.00 135 465 465 760 820 950 1100 1550 2000 2750 4950 10250 36000 75000 135000 245000 - -
$ 550 810 880 1040 1200 1700 2200 3000 5350 11500 41500 141000 150000 -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 170
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 67


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
9/9/2004 PCGS AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2004 September Long Beach Signature Sale #355, 355/Lot# 6344 $1,207.50
8/8/2005 NGC MS 64   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet-Only Auction #48, 53/Lot# 704 $391.00
2/11/2007 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg February 11-14, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 39/Lot# 1350 $9,600.00
1/6/2010 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions 2010 January Orlando, FL FUN US Coin Auction #1136, 1136/Lot# 2508 $14,950.00
8/15/2011 NGC MS 65   Stack's Bowers The August 2011 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Auction, 115/Lot# 7312 $14,950.00
10/21/2013 NGC AU 53   Teletrade Auction 3453, 3453/Lot# 1367 $675.00
5/4/2014 NGC VF 25   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131419/Lot# 26120 $183.30


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1838 SEATED 25C MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base10211914320938999311601309156317111911203323622705363947347770995810822144505833763781
107127165269590104812091393161217771951214224763016400457468499102461203129079601510
0000001209139316121777195121422476301640045746849910246120312907900
0000001259147816611844199222522590332743696758922810534132404370800
1838 SEATED 25C MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1111311592274201054122913841649180320122138247928343800492980521029611182148965958465114
117140181291631111212801472170018722054225125973156417659708800105911242029792614270
0000001280147217001872205422512597315641765970880010591124202979200
0000001332156017511942209623652715347845527011954810886136584468800
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 62
Points: 2525
Owner: jacmitch
 
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