[REVISED FEBRUARY 2018]
1815 is the first year for the Capped Bust Quarter type, and all known survivors are struck from a single die pair. Steve Tompkins, in his Early United States Quarters 1796-1838, points to the impetus for restarting the quarter denomination after an eight-year hiatus. In correspondence between Bailly Blanchard, head cashier of the Planters Bank of New Orleans, and Mint Director Robert L. Patterson, Blanchard pleaded with Patterson to return only quarter dollars in exchange for the bank’s deposit of silver. After much hesitation, as no quarter dollar dies were immediately available, Patterson gave in to Blanchard’s request, and production of the quarter dollar denomination was resumed.
While regularly available in Choice grades, true Gems with original surfaces are elusive. The finest known is likely the Hayes-Pogue Gem certified as PCGS MS66+, followed by the Newman NGC MS67+.
1) 66+ Hayes, Pogue PCGS MS66+ #34980722
Finest Known. Medium original toning, gold and rose tones at center, blending to blue and olive green about the rim. Irregular flan depression right of lower loop of 8. Dies heavily clashed.
Sold by Stack’s, privately, in the 1940s, later purchased by Hank Rogers, who sold it to Jimmy Hayes, privately, in the early 1970s. Jimmy Hayes is well known as a collector of the finest known first year type coins. His collection was sold by Stack’s in their “50th Anniversary Sale” October 1985, where this coin sold as lot 35 to Ed Milas for RARCOA. This coin was later certified by NGC as MS66, and it was in Ed’s personal inventory until the late 1990s, when it was sold privately to Brent Pogue. More recently, it was sold in Part I of the D. Brent Pogue Collection (Stack’s Bowers 5/2015:1057) at $96,938 as PCGS MS66 to Joe O’Connor for OCNUMIS.
2) 66e Newman NGC MS67+ #2037631-009
[Subdued luster, with vivid, natural second color.]
The Newman 1815 Quarter carries a provenance chain common to many of the Newman silver coins – “Colonel” E.H.R. Green, Green Estate, St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co., Eric P. Newman, Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society – followed by its sale in the “Eric P. Newman Collection Part II” (Heritage 11/2013:33335) at $282,000 as NGC MS67+. [CAC] [to Legend, bidder #50]
3) 66 Lull, CSNS’09 PCGS MS66 #21817909
[Dipped off-white, clashed dies, grease streaks rim to lower point star 4, ICA]
James W. Lull (Bowers & Merena 1/2005: 679 @ $46,000 as PCGS MS66 #21817909); Heritage “CSNS 2009” 4/2009:2319 @ $48,875 as PCGS MS66.
4) 66 Link PCGS MS66 # 14962425
[NGC MS68, MS67, PCGS MS66]
Heritage 7/2003: 6908 @ $60,950 as NGC MS68 #1727945-050; Heritage 1/2005: 30173 BB @ $47,500 reserve as NGC MS67; Stack’s 11/2005:221 @ $55,200 as NGC MS67 [probably BB]; Superior 2/2006: 533 as NGC MS67 [BB?]; Stack’s 1/2008:327 @ $57,500 as NGC MS67 [probably BB]; Heritage 1/2009: 3718 @ $48,875 as NGC MS67; Heritage 5/2009: 603 @ $27,600 as NGC MS67; Heritage 10/2009: 559 BB @ $35,000 reserve as PCGS MS66 #14962425; Heritage 1/2010: 2503 @ $37,375 as PCGS MS66. [Harlan Berk, privately, 2013 to Chuck Link. Probably also ANR 3/2004: 532; Scotsman 2/2007: 457]
5) 65+ PCGS MS65+ #25561700
Bowers & Merena 4/2005:440; Richard C. Jewell; Stack’s Bowers 8/2011:7305 @ $41,400 as PCGS MS65 [CAC].
6) 65 PCGS MS65 #25214948
Heritage 1/2015:4080 @ $15,275 as NGC MS65 #4183694-001; Legend 5/2016:138 @ $32,900 as PCGS MS65.
As of February 2018, PCGS reports one other MS65+, followed by two more graded MS65, and 17 as MS64.