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.
The resumption of quarter dollar coinage in 1891 was an important occasion in the history of the New Orleans Mint. After its seizure by rebel authorities at the outbreak of the Civil War, the facility produced a limited number of coins for the Confederate States of America before Union forces liberated the Crescent City in early 1862. Over the next sixteen years, the federal government used the mint building for various purposes, none of which included coinage. The passage of the Bland-Allison Act in 1878 and the anticipated large scale production of the Morgan dollar led to the reopening of the facility as a branch mint the following year. While silver dollars and various gold denominations flowed from the presses of the southern branch mint over the course of the following decade, minor coinage had to wait until 1891. In that year, as stated earlier, the Liberty Seated quarter re-entered the life of the New Orleans Mint for the first time since 1860 and, by the end of the year, 68,000 business strikes had been produced. To mark the occasion, the New Orleans Mint also struck at least two proof specimens. These pieces, along with their 1855-S counterparts, are the only branch mint proofs in the entire Seated quarter series.
In his Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins: 1722-1977, Walter Breen confirms that there are only two extant examples of the 1891-O branch mint proof quarter. His plate coin for the issue is the specimen that appeared as lot 173 in Lester Merkin's Public Auction Sale of October 4, 1969. Another and, presumably, different example was featured as lot 2024 in the 1980 American Numismatic Association Auction (Steve Ivy Numismatic Auctions, Inc., 8/80), where it realized $51,000.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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