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1820 B-1 Capped Bust Quarters are no scarcer than R3 (>200 examples exist)

NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited September 4, 2022 9:20PM in U.S. Coin Forum

There has been some debate as to how scarce/rare the 1820 B-1 capped bust quarter is. Some say it’s R5 (31 - 75 examples), some say it’s R4 (76 - 200 examples), some say it’s R3 (201 - 500 examples) or even more common.

In order to provide more insight as to how scarce this coin actually is, I decided to accumulate pictures of 1820 B-1 capped bust quarters from easily accessible sources to see if I could find enough unique examples to refute the R5 rarity rating.

It turns out that I was able to find over 100 examples just by searching eBay, Proxibid, Great Collections, PCGS CoinFacts, and Heritage. **Therefore, the 1820 B-1 capped bust quarter is absolutely not an R5. ** At best it’s an R4, though it’s probably an R3.

The following posts contain the coins I found. Admittedly, many of these are very worn, damaged, or ugly, so a high grade 1820 B-1 is a true prize.

I’ll begin with my humble example:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The next 27 pictures come from eBay’s active listings and auction archives (collected over the past two weeks).

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    More eBay coins:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Seven more eBay coins:

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    And here’s a Proxibid coin:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The next ten coins come from PCGS’s CoinFacts.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Next up are the Great Collections coins. These add another nine coins to the list.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Now onto the Heritage coins. There were a total of 64 new coins that I hadn’t found on the previous websites.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    More Heritage coins:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 5, 2022 5:03PM

    Even more Heritage coins:

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    We have officially crossed the threshold from R5 to R4.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    More Heritage coins.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You guessed it… more Heritage coins.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Almost done (more Heritage coins)…

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    And here are the last four Heritage coins:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    And that’s all I have for now. Depending on how motivated I am, I may continue the search until I hit 200 examples, as this would move 1820 B-1 into R3 territory beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    Feel free to add your 1820 B-1 example if it’s not already in the list above!

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    scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,739 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow! That obviously took a lot of work. But it’s evident from your list that the B1 is not hard to find (unless you want a coin that looks nice). I owned a couple in the past and I’ll post them shortly. I think you can get to 200 without much trouble.

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    OmegaraptorOmegaraptor Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Excellent and impressive research!

    "You can't get just one gun." "You can't get just one tattoo." "You can't get just one 1796 Draped Bust Large Cent."

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    yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,599 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 5, 2022 10:47PM

    Nice.
    I have similar photo collections for all years of seated half dime die varieties, which I also use to estimate rarity.
    The fun part is identifying matches that look a bit different.
    I don't think I have identified 100 different examples of a seated half dime die variety, though.
    I create multipart filenames for the photos so that they sort on Windows by die variety, grade and appearance date,
    so it's fairly easy to see photos of close grades for comparison.

    You probably know that Stacks Bowers will be the next good source if you decide to go further, and they usually have great photos.

    When I started doing this for seated half dimes, PCGS CoinFacts had more than 3 photos per date,
    which was a great resource (especially because some half dime varieties require very large photos to see!).
    So good that I was worried it might disappear, so I downloaded all of them.
    And they did disappear.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 4, 2022 4:49PM

    Time to resume this project.

    First off, five more eBay coins:

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    And another GreatCollections coin:

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    A coin for sale on larrybriggsrarecoins.com:

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    And a coin for sale on FUBAcoins.com:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 4, 2022 4:49PM

    The Stacks Bowers auction archive yields another seven:

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    SoldiSoldi Posts: 2,024 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 4, 2022 4:59PM


    And mine too !

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Soldi said:


    And mine too !

    That one’s a B-2, so I’ll exclude it from the count.

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    SoldiSoldi Posts: 2,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for the attribution

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Now we move on to WorthPoint (this website is essentially an online archive):

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    More WorthPoint coins:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Another ten WorthPoint coins:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    More from WorthPoint:

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    EagleguyEagleguy Posts: 2,262 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    EagleguyEagleguy Posts: 2,262 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Have you considered looking through the registry sets as well? It may only list the highest graded ones an individual has in their registry but it may add a few to your census.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Eagleguy said:
    Have you considered looking through the registry sets as well? It may only list the highest graded ones an individual has in their registry but it may add a few to your census.

    Good question. I’ve not specifically gone through the registry sets, but I suspect I’ve picked up most of them through my searches of the various auction websites. If I’m running short, I’ll probably check them out to see if any of them are new to this list. Once I hit 200 (plus a little margin), I plan to stop the search, since I’ll have successfully demonstrated the 1820 B-1 is no scarcer than R3.

    Thank you to Eagleguy for #171! Here are more WorthPoint coins:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 4, 2022 8:27PM

    Ten more quarters from WorthPoint:

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Another group of ten from WorthPoint, which finally gets us to 200!

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    And here are ten more from WorthPoint to compensate for any double-counting that I may have done.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 4, 2022 9:21PM

    And with that, I consider this effort to be complete. The 1820 B-1 capped bust quarter has more than 200 distinct examples, meaning that it is no scarcer than R3. Saying that this die marriage is R4 or R5 has now been demonstrated to be incorrect.

    The title of the thread has been updated to reflect this.

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    NSPNSP Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It is worth noting that nice, high grade 1820 B-1’s are pretty darn rare. The vast majority of these are either heavily worn, cleaned/damaged/mutilated, or both. So this die marriage is probably best viewed as a condition rarity… easy to obtain, but difficult to obtain problem free in high grades.

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    EddiEddi Posts: 455 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 5, 2022 1:01AM

    This is excellent investigation work and very useful to all Capped Bust Quarter collectors.

    Interestingly, the 5th Edition of the Mega Red Book which featured an in-depth coverage of quarters (1796 to-date) describes
    1820 B-1 as follows: "B-1, Large 0. R-4. Availability in circulated grades 85 to 115. Availability in mint state: 3 to 5 known".
    The work you have done provides a much more precise update to the Red Book description.

    NSP, I would be interested to know what you think of 1824, 4 Over 2? The Mega Red Book describes this as R-3, 350-450.

    (Being a Bust Dime collector, I am also curious about your estimates for 1809, 1811/09, 1822 and 1814 JR-5).

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    NysotoNysoto Posts: 3,771 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice work. Usually, R-3 rarity is determined by estimates based on auction frequency, census reports, urban myths, etc. Photo evidence is the only accurate method.

    Robert Scot: Engraving Liberty - biography of US Mint's first chief engraver
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    NSP, Thank you for sharing your research and information!

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    scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,739 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NSP "It is worth noting that nice, high grade 1820 B-1’s are pretty darn rare. The vast majority of these are either heavily worn, cleaned/damaged/mutilated, or both. So this die marriage is probably best viewed as a condition rarity… easy to obtain, but difficult to obtain problem free in high grades."

    I think this statement applies to MANY of the bust quarter die marriages. Many R-2 - R-4 marriages would be bumped higher if the criteria was "a coin you could show to a type collector without them wincing".

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    GoBustGoBust Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't quite understand how you have excluded duplicates from your list? Can you really compare 200+ photos of low grade quarters to each other and know they are mutually exclusive given differences in photographs etc. If you did compare them all, how long did this take you?

    Hurculean effort no doubt.

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