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Diagnostics for 1893 Isabella Quarter Proof vs. Mint State

BustHalfBrianBustHalfBrian Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭
edited January 14, 2017 10:50PM in U.S. Coin Forum

I have an Isabella Quarter that I think is a proof, but I know proof-like examples also exist. Are there any die markers or other diagnostics to determine with certainty that it is or isn't a proof?

Lurking and learning since 2010. Full-time professional numismatist.

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    Send it in to PCGS if it's a proof they will say so on the holder

    Randy Conway

    Www.killermarbles.com

    Www.suncitycoin.com
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    I did a google search and this is what I found.

    1893 25C Isabella Quarter Only 103 proof Isabella quarters were struck. These special strikings consisted of the first hundred strikes from the die, There are no published or known diagnostics for proofs, they simply "carry their own credentials"

    Randy Conway

    Www.killermarbles.com

    Www.suncitycoin.com
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    yosclimberyosclimber Posts: 4,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 15, 2017 12:52AM

    [deleted - answered by above post]

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    The credit goes to Heritage Auctions

    Randy Conway

    Www.killermarbles.com

    Www.suncitycoin.com
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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,869 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 15, 2017 2:04AM

    @Topdollarpaid said:
    I did a google search and this is what I found.

    1893 25C Isabella Quarter Only 103 proof Isabella quarters were struck. These special strikings consisted of the first hundred strikes from the die, There are no published or known diagnostics for proofs, they simply "carry their own credentials"

    If Proofs are just the first hundred strikes, can they really be called proof and the others mint state? Would the proof just be a "First Strike" mint state coin, more akin to a proof-like?

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    BustHalfBrianBustHalfBrian Posts: 4,127 ✭✭✭

    @Topdollarpaid said:
    I did a google search and this is what I found.

    1893 25C Isabella Quarter Only 103 proof Isabella quarters were struck. These special strikings consisted of the first hundred strikes from the die, There are no published or known diagnostics for proofs, they simply "carry their own credentials"

    What are those "credentials"? Does PCGS really grade them as proofs based on such vague characteristics?

    Lurking and learning since 2010. Full-time professional numismatist.
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    PCGS confirmed less than 5 proofs, better chance if you send it to NGC.

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    astroratastrorat Posts: 9,221 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Breen's book on proof coins (Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins, 1722-1989) lists the Isabella quarter but without specific die diagnostics. If you are at a major show, let JD see the coin and ask his impression. Good luck.

    Numismatist Ordinaire
    See http://www.doubledimes.com for a free online reference for US twenty-cent pieces
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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,550 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It is my understanding that the major TPG's no longer recognize any Isabella quarters as Proofs.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
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    davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,851 ✭✭✭✭✭

    At NGC they would at least probably call it PL (if decided BS) which has added value. If they call it proof, you could then send it to PCGS for crossover.

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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No true proof Isabella quarters were made.

    The proof-like special pieces do not meet even the most generous standard for a typical proof of that era. They are, however, certainly special in that they were made on request of the sponsors.

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    kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭

    Its funny, the 103 numbers comes from the number of 1892 Columbian half dollar proofs struck, numbers 1-100, 500, 1492, and 1892. The archive records support this. I have all these records in my Commem book.

    There are no archive records on any Isabella quarters being struck as proofs.

    There are no specimens that can be traced back to them to be sold or distributed as proofs.

    There is an archive record which states that all of the planchets for the Isabella quarters were polished.

    Kevin J Flynn
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    JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 22,847 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB said:
    No true proof Isabella quarters were made.

    The proof-like special pieces do not meet even the most generous standard for a typical proof of that era. They are, however, certainly special in that they were made on request of the sponsors.

    This

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album
    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
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    kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭

    Crap, I was wrong, I should read my own book...
    Archive records show that there was 8 Isabella quarters that were requested and separated out especially for the ladies, these are the first 5, number 500, 1492, 1892. It does not specifically state they were struck as proofs, but implied.
    Will write more tomorrow.

    Kevin J Flynn
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    291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,939 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It appears that the "proof" Isabella quarters reside in the fog of history. If none are actually known for certain to have been struck and none actually meet proof standards of 1893 should any ever be "certified"?

    All glory is fleeting.
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    kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭

    I started a new article on the Isabella proofs.
    8 were struck in the same manner as the 103 Columbian half dollar proofs.
    In speaking to JD last night, JD stated that he had viewed one specimen, that PCGS subsequently certified as a proof, as a true proof coins. All others were not even close to this one coin.
    JD in my opinion is the expert on 19th century proofs.
    Kevin

    Kevin J Flynn
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    291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,939 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @kevinj said:
    I started a new article on the Isabella proofs.
    8 were struck in the same manner as the 103 Columbian half dollar proofs.
    In speaking to JD last night, JD stated that he had viewed one specimen, that PCGS subsequently certified as a proof, as a true proof coins. All others were not even close to this one coin.
    JD in my opinion is the expert on 19th century proofs.
    Kevin

    If this is so, what happens to the non-proofs that have been certified as proofs? I still see a great deal of fog surrounding this issue.

    All glory is fleeting.
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    kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭

    Absolutely agree about the confusion.
    The Mint Director said it was his intent to create these is the highest relief possible and strike all on polished planchets.
    There were only two dies used. I have seen many Isabella quarters with proof-like surfaces
    Which is why I trust JD, IMO he has looked at more of these than anyone else and the best to judge

    I suggest caution be used when buying any coin, certified or not, in grade, and sometimes designation.

    Kevin J Flynn
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    braddickbraddick Posts: 23,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Is it still an established fact proofs were note minted for this type?


    peacockcoins

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ask Julian.

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    LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @braddick said:
    Is it still an established fact proofs were note minted for this type?

    .
    how do we find it in the pop reports? i didn't see an option for proofs, so i presume it should populate under the coin type. - icgcoin.com/population-search/


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    lermishlermish Posts: 1,935 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 30, 2022 8:59AM

    Per Swiatek/Breen:

    There were 103 proofs: the first 100, and #s 400, 1492, and 1892.

    As most proof Isabella quarters have been doubted at one time or another, collectors are advised that the peace illustrated on the preceding page is one of the proofs of such high quality as to be beyond reasonable question. Know the extra sharpness of detail in centers on the Queen's hair, her ruffled collar, her brocated or embroidered garment, the lap of her snood, the folds in the spinner sleeve, the locks of her hair, the twists in her yarn, the continuous line from distaff to spindle even wear crosses her thigh. Proofs also have brilliant mirror surface in the triangular field area just left of the fist holding the distaff, at the very center of reverse. Unfortunately, some proof like early business strikes also have this proof area mirrored, but no coin authenticated as a proof of this issue lacks it.

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    lermishlermish Posts: 1,935 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That being said...pretty spectacular looking coin. I'm certainly not the person to say if it is Proof or PL but I'm in love with it.

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    logger7logger7 Posts: 8,081 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Excellent research here. You can be sure that some top notch numismatic eyes looked at it before calling it a proof at ICG; the same is true of the other grading services. The downside for a false attribution like that is considerable so would not do it unless they were sure.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lermish said:
    Per Swiatek/Breen:

    There were 103 proofs: the first 100, and #s 400, 1492, and 1892.

    As most proof Isabella quarters have been doubted at one time or another, collectors are advised that the peace illustrated on the preceding page is one of the proofs of such high quality as to be beyond reasonable question. Know the extra sharpness of detail in centers on the Queen's hair, her ruffled collar, her brocated or embroidered garment, the lap of her snood, the folds in the spinner sleeve, the locks of her hair, the twists in her yarn, the continuous line from distaff to spindle even wear crosses her thigh. Proofs also have brilliant mirror surface in the triangular field area just left of the fist holding the distaff, at the very center of reverse. Unfortunately, some proof like early business strikes also have this proof area mirrored, but no coin authenticated as a proof of this issue lacks it.

    Is there a way to tell if Swiatzek or Breen wrote that particular portion? I am more inclined to trust the former rather than the latter. The latter was notorious for making things up out of thin air. Everyone makes mistakes, but there are so many half truths and made up stuff that it undermines the credibility of any potential legitimate contributions Breen may have had to numismatics.

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    lermishlermish Posts: 1,935 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @cameonut2011 said:

    @lermish said:
    Per Swiatek/Breen:

    There were 103 proofs: the first 100, and #s 400, 1492, and 1892.

    As most proof Isabella quarters have been doubted at one time or another, collectors are advised that the peace illustrated on the preceding page is one of the proofs of such high quality as to be beyond reasonable question. Know the extra sharpness of detail in centers on the Queen's hair, her ruffled collar, her brocated or embroidered garment, the lap of her snood, the folds in the spinner sleeve, the locks of her hair, the twists in her yarn, the continuous line from distaff to spindle even wear crosses her thigh. Proofs also have brilliant mirror surface in the triangular field area just left of the fist holding the distaff, at the very center of reverse. Unfortunately, some proof like early business strikes also have this proof area mirrored, but no coin authenticated as a proof of this issue lacks it.

    Is there a way to tell if Swiatzek or Breen wrote that particular portion? I am more inclined to trust the former rather than the latter. The latter was notorious for making things up out of thin air. Everyone makes mistakes, but there are so many half truths and made up stuff that it undermines the credibility of any potential legitimate contributions Breen may have had to numismatics.

    There are a few passages written in the first person where the author will identify himself but this is not one of those 😐

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