Quarter Eagle -> 1851-C


  • Quarter Eagles 1838 - 1860
  • Liberty Head 1840 - 1860
  • Diameter: 18.2 millimeters
  • Fineness: .900
  • Weight: 64.5 grains
  • Designer: Christian Gobrecht
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Coiner: John R. Bolton

The 1851-C has a higher mintage figure than the 1850-C but it is a scarcer coin. It is estimated that 85-95 are known with as many as 85% of these grading Extremely Fine or below. This is a very rare coin in About Uncirculated with fewer than ten pieces known. Interestingly, as many as a half dozen are known in Mint State, suggesting that a very small hoard of Uncirculated coins may have existed at one time. There are some well struck 1851-C quarter eagles but the typical example is soft on curls and the bun of Liberty. The surfaces are often heavily marked and some are seen with peculiar mint-made scratches across the obverse.

Condition Census

  1. Private collection, ex Merkin 4/70: 655. Mint State-63 or thereabouts. Unseen by the author but said to be a very choice coin.
  2. Private collection, ex Elrod collection, Bowers and Ruddy 10/82 (Eliasberg): 157, John Clapp, Elmer Sears. Graded MS-62 by NGC.
  3. Superior 1/96: 2213. Graded MS-62 by PCGS. Reacquired by the consignor at this sale.
  4. Paul Dingler collection, ex Stack's 10/94: 905, James Stack collection. Later graded MS-61 by PCGS. The coin illustrated on this web site.
  5. Private collection, ex Doug Winter/Lee Minshull, January 1995. Graded MS-60 by NGC.

The coin sold as Lot 1390 in the Stack's 12/94 sale was technically MS-60 or better but it showed deep mint-made lines on the face of Liberty.