With a mere 246 pieces believed to have been produced, the 1854-S Liberty Quarter Eagle ranks as one of the lowest mintage regular issue United States coins. These coins were one of the first products of the San Francisco Mint, which was created as a direct result of the California gold rush.
The issue remained completely known to numismatists until 1910, when a surviving specimen was located. Currently, there are only a dozen examples of the 1854-S Quarter Eagle confirmed to exist. After the small initial mintage was produced, apparently the pieces all entered circulation. This is supported by the fact that all known specimens are in circulated grades, with the finest example being the Harry W. Bass coin, which grades about uncirculated.
Offerings are rare and infrequent, and always cause a stir when an example is available for sale. A newly discovered example turned up in California few years ago, and it is possible that more examples might be hidden, although this unlikely.
The highest price paid for an example of the coin was $345,000 paid in February 2007 for an example graded PCGS EF45. Most recently an 1854-S Liberty Quarter Eagle from the Norweb-Richmond Collection and graded PCGS VF35 was sold at auction for $253,000 in October 2011.