Like the gold dollar, 45 proof quarter eagles were struck in 1876. And also like the gold dollar, very few business strikes were produced--only 4,176 pieces in fact. Both Breen and Taglione suggest that perhaps as many as 24 proofs survive today in all grades. In order to distinguish proofs from singly struck business strikes, one must examine the profile of Liberty. On business strikes, there is a raised bar (from foreign matter adhering to the hub when the obverse die was sunk from it) at the neck next to the jaw on business strikes, but proofs lack this feature.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.