The fields are mirrored, and impressively so. But even accounting for the light friction from circulation we do not believe the fields deeply reflective enough to call the coin a proof. Also, the striking details are well defined, but again not complete (not that completeness is absolutely necessary on early proofs). We cannot make any judgement about the rim as the coin is encapsulated, but there is some occasional softness on the denticles. Rich orange color covers each side with a haziness in the fields, as mentioned, from handling.
On the other hand, the view that this piece is a proof was advanced by the late Walter Breen. A xerox copy of a letter from Walter accompanies this lot, dated October 12, 1990. It reads in part, "...earliest die state, proof that went briefly into circulation, but not long enough to obscure the sharpness of striking, which is notably superior to that of uncirculated business strikes of later die states. Compare to illustration of one of the latter at Encyclopedia 6498. To date this is the fourth traced or reported; one is in Smithsonian Institution, one in a NY State collection, and the other (from the Nicholas Petry collection, 1893) unseen for nearly a century unless it is the present coin." (NGC ID# 25RJ, PCGS# 8157)
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