1889 LIBERTY SEATED 25C, MOTTO PR68
*QUALITY. ONLY 711 STRUCK. LOVELY COLOR. TIED FOR HIGHEST.
NGC Graded Higher:
In 1889, St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco commissioned a 5,300 pound bell to be constructed for its tower. The Cathedral paid a foundry in Baltimore $17,000 to cast the behemoth that was put on display after the church burned down in 1956. In 2011, the bell was stolen and later recovered across the street from a scrap yard in Oakland that police believed to be its intended destination. This 1889 quarter recalls the massive bell that was nearly broken down for its metal value.
An omnibus bill, the Mint Act of February 12, 1873 resulted in many changes in the United States coinage system. The one that most conerns us here is the bill's attempt to introduce the metric system into the nation's coinage. For the Quarter, this meant a slight weight increase from 6.22 grams to 6.25 grams. Congress mandated that the new coins were to bear a distinguishing mark and, looking back to similar circumstances during the mid-1850s, the Mint once again selected arrows flanking the obverse date as this feature. Authorities deemed that the arrows would be necessary for just two years from 1873-1874, after which coinage continued at the new weight standard without a distinguishing mark. As a two-year type, the Arrows, Motto Seated Quarter has long enjoyed strong collector and investor demand. Mintages for the two proof deliveries of this type are roughly commensuate with those of other Seated Quarters from this era, but heightened interest means that the 1873 Arrows and 1874 can both be quite elusive from a market availability standpoint. This is particularly true of coins that grade at or above Proof-65.