1830 Capped Head Left Quarter Eagle. BD-1, the only known dies. Rarity-4. AU-55+ (NGC).Handsome honey-hold patina blankets both sides, iridescent champagne-pink and powder blue highlights evident as the surfaces dip into a light. Impressively sharp in strike, this minimally circulated survivor retains modest semi-reflective tendencies in the protected areas around the design elements, especially those around the peripheries. An inviting and scarce early gold coin that would make a significant addition to an advanced cabinet.<p>The quarter eagle was never an especially popular denomination in commerce and was not nearly requested by bullion depositors at the Philadelphia Mint as much as its bigger sibling, the half eagle. Many half eagles and eagles were shipped overseas, often to end up being used as bullion for European coins, when production of the quarter eagle was suspended beginning in 1808. When production resumed in 1821, the denomination was produced mostly in small quantities throughout the 1820s and into the 1830s. In the meantime, the price of gold rose enough so that the intrinsic value of a quarter eagle was $2.67, giving speculators a small but bankable profit when the coins were sold as bullion. Because American gold coins were already refined and of a known weight, they became easy targets for speculators. Even as the North Carolina and Georgia gold fields began producing in earnest, struck coin soon disappeared into the melting pots both domestically and abroad. This also impacted the statutory ratio of 15:1 gold to silver that had been set back in 1792. By 1830, the market ratio between gold and silver was roughly 15.9:1. The issue was taken up by Senator Nathan Sanford, chair of the Committee on Finance, when he presented his January 1830 Report on the Current Coins. Sanford noted that "the legal valuation of gold being too low, and that of silver too high" resulted in gold coins being melted or exported at their bullion value and referred additional examination to the Secretary of the Treasury. While this was under review, a nearly token quantity of 4,540 quarter eagles were struck, which went mostly to congressmen or simply entered circulation with no notice. Four years later, Congress passed the Coinage Act on June 27, 1834 which, among other things, set the ratio to 16:1 and the fine content of gold coins was reduced from 24.75 grains to 23.2 grains. Because the old tenor gold coins were heavier than the coins struck at the new statutory ratio and fineness, the few survivors ended up either at the Mint to be recoined or sold as bullion abroad. as a result of the bullion speculation, all gold issues struck prior to 1834 are at a minimum scarce.<p>The entire production of 1830 quarter eagles was accomplished with a single die pair with only a single die state showing no clashing or lapping, as is often found on earlier issues produced in larger quantities. Because the coins saw comparatively little use in circulation, the quarter eagles of this era that survived generally show little wear. Mishandling the dime-sized coins was rampant and made worse by the softness of the metal. While a small mark on an eagle may not be easily seen, on a quarter eagle this same defect is amplified. The 1830 quarter eagle is rare in all grade levels: between 80 and 100 specimens are believed to still remain in existence. These survivors run the gamut in terms of preservation, mostly from VF through AU. With Mint State survivors highly elusive, this premium Choice AU represents the finest realistically obtainable for many of todays advanced type collectors and gold enthusiasts.