The NGC Universal ID is a four digit alphanumeric that groups coins based on a unique combination of date, mintmark, denomination and striking process (MS, PF, or SP). These IDs are a simple organization of all coins prior to variety attribution and grading.
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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