Coin Specifications

Category: Early $2.50 (1796-1834)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 6,448
Catalog: KM-46
Obverse Designer: John Reich
Reverse Designer: John Reich
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9160
Weight: 4.3700g
AGW: 0.1287oz
Melt Value: $156.55 (10/1/2014)
Diameter: 18.5mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1821 $2.5 MS obverse 1821 $2.5 MS reverse

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There are no varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

It had been 13 years since the last quarter eagles were coined until this denomination was resumed again. Production remained low with 6,448 quarter eagles produced in 1821, and this mintage was more than one-third the total output for the entire design from 1821 through 1827. Based on mintage figures alone, the rarity of the entire type can be seen, with just 17,042 pieces struck during that period. But the mintage was not everything, as John Dannreuther points out: 'Besides the usual factors that remove coins from circulation--wear, loss, and so on--the early gold issues faced another factor that doomed many of them. Pre-1834 old coins were melted after the June 28, 1834 passage of the act reducing the weight of gold coins.'

After John Reich left the Mint, Robert Scot was the only engraver that remained, and it is he who is given credit for this design, actually a modification of Reich's earlier design. Scot is a mysterious figure among the various chief engravers who served the Mint over the years. He received his appointment to the Mint staff on November 23, 1793, and remained until his death in late 1823. Many years earlier, at about the time John Reich joined the Mint, Scot's future potential had been discussed by Mint Director Patterson who stated that he was 'so advanced in life, that he cannot very long be expected to continue his labors.' At the time, Robert Scot was 62 years old, and Patterson was 64!

The 1821 quarter eagle is the first issue of this design, and the entire mintage is from a single die pair. The first examples were proofs, struck from polished dies. Because so few business strikes were coined after the proofs, nearly all have reflective surfaces as on this coin.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/27/2014

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

1821 $2.5 MS
Base $ 2775 3875 5900 7650 11100 11100 16900 18300 20150 26500 31000 36800 50900 75000 130000 - - - - - -
$ 12750 18200 19700 21600 28750 34000 39100 55000 87000 160000 - - - -
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Total Graded: 20
Low Grade: 45
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/14/2008 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg September 14-16, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 48/Lot# 1227 $149,500.00
1/5/2011 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(3), 1151/Lot# 5022 $20,700.00
8/11/2011 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2011 August Chicago Signature US Coin & Platinum Night Auction Session(5), 1158/Lot# 7444 $18,975.00
7/27/2013 NGC AU 55   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 4441 $19,975.00
3/20/2014 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2014 March 20 The Collection of Donald E. Bently - Bently Foundation US Coins Signature Auction - San Francisco Session(1), 1205/Lot# 30211 $44,062.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1821 $2.5 MS
1821 $2.5 MS Prooflike
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