Coin Specifications

Category: Seated Liberty Quarters (1838-1891)
Mint: New Orleans
Mintage: 68,000
Catalog: KM-A98
Obverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Reverse Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 6.25g
ASW: 0.1808oz
Melt Value: $3.48 (9/28/2016)
Diameter: 24.3mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1891 O 25C MS obverse 1891 O 25C MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The special nature of this coin has been recognized since at least 1941 when it appeared in Mehl's Dunham Sale. It has passed from one specialist to another since then, always remaining in strong hands and rarely offered to the numismatic market. The obvious reason for striking this piece, as well as the other known branch mint proof, was 'resumption of coinage of this denomination at New Orleans (interrupted 1860),' as stated in Breen (1977).

It is always interesting to compare and contrast branch mint proofs with those produced in Philadelphia. It appears that employees in the branch mints were not familiar with the day-to-day striking of proofs. Rather, when called upon to strike such coins, they produced pieces that they thought resembled the proofs that were regularly turned out of the mother mint in Philadelphia. And in most cases, they did an admirable job of emulating Philadelphia proofs.

It is interesting to note the differences between this New Orleans specimen and a proof from Philadelphia. Most obvious are the striking details. Some of the feather details on the eagle and the star radials lack complete high point definition. Some P-mint proofs, especially from the 1880s, also lack full detailing and this is not an absolute necessity for proof status. On this coin it appears it was only struck once. Perhaps New Orleans personnel were not familiar with the tradition of double striking proofs? It is also interesting to note that a scribe line is clearly evident just outside the denticles on each side. Indeed, die polishing goes up to the line on the obverse but not beyond. On the reverse much of the line is still evident and it has only been polished away between 1 and 3 o'clock. On Philadelphia proofs, part of the scribe line can still be seen on some issues, but die polishing was generally done carefully enough to either show the curve of each denticle or many times the individual denticles are fully outlined all the way to the rim. These are slight differences in the nature of branch mint proofs and Philadelphia proofs, and these differences can easily be explained by the quantities of proofs or specimens produced in each mint--one need not be quite as careful about the fine points if only two pieces are to be produced vs. the hundreds of pieces struck across all denominations in the Philadelphia facility. But the texture of this coin gives clear indication of the intent to produce a special coin most likely for presentation purposes.

The roster is brief for 1891-O specimen quarters as only two are known:

1. William Forrester Dunham (B. Max Mehl FPL, 6/1941), Gene Edwards, 1980 ANA Sale (Steve Ivy, 8/1980), lot 2024, Jascha Heifetz Collection (Superior, 10/1989), lot 3652, Silbermnzen Collection (Heritage, 5/2008, lot 334).

2. Private collection, ca. 1968, Ahwash Collection, current whereabouts unknown

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/20/2015

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

1891 O 25C MS
Base $ 315 550 1150 1650 2875 3600 4000 4400 4750 5250 6000 8000 11750 19500 35000 - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 37
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
1/23/2006 NGC VF 35   Heritage Auctions 2006 January Dallas, TX The Jules Reiver Collection Signature Auction #390, 390/Lot# 21202 $1,092.50
12/5/2011 PCGS G 6   Teletrade Auction 3184, 3184/Lot# 1259 $210.00
11/29/2012 NGC Details G Details  Heritage Auctions 2012 November 29 - December 2 US Coin Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1177/Lot# 8755 $258.50
6/1/2014 PCGS F 12   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/01/2014, 198/Lot# 198461 $972.40
8/12/2015 PCGS F 15   Prooflike Heritage Auctions 2015 August 12 - 16 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(3), 1223/Lot# 4686 $1,292.50
11/6/2015 PCGS   Stack's Bowers November 2015 Baltimore, 6110/Lot# 22197 $1,645.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1891 O 25C MS
1891 O 25C MS Prooflike
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