1856 1C MS66 PCGS. Eagle Eye Photo Seal. Snow-3. Only two ...
Later research by Richard Snow was published in the 1992 book Flying Eagle and Indian Cents, which listed the die pairs of the 1856 in a clearer fashion and added unknown varieties (Snow-1 in copper-nickel and the previously mentioned Snow-5). In 1996, Q. David Bowers' book Enthusiast's Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Cents expanded on the information from both Breen and Snow and weighed in on the question of the format of the 1856 Flying Eagle Cents. Grading experts submitted their opinions in that book in an effort to determine which 1856 Flying Eagle cent varieties are proofs and which are non-proofs. No consensus was formed. However, the information presented led collectors to desire the Snow-3 die pair over all others, creating a premium pricing structure that still exists today.
In Richard Snow's 2001 book The Flying Eagle and Indian Cent Attribution Guide, Vol. 1: 1856-1858, the current thinking regarding the 1856 Flying Eagle cent is presented. The Snow-3 die pair is accepted as a major part of the original striking period of the 1856 Cent. It is entirely possible that the production of many of the coins submitted to Congress were Snow-3 business strikes that were part of a trial press run at the Mint. This was a new size coin, struck in a new metal and with a new design. The Mint would necessarily need to test the presses at a normal speed to ensure that the coins would strike up properly and that planchets would not jam under the new conditions.
This is the finest known Snow-3 1856 Flying Eagle cent. Nearly all examples of this die marriage show softer details than proof 1856 specimens. The present representative exhibits slight striking incompleteness over the highest breast feathers and on the tips of the feathers in the eagle's left wing. This weakness actually confirms the Mint State status of this die pair. The satiny surfaces of this coin further attest to its status as a non-proof. An awesome beauty, both sides present even, honey-brown color, and there are no noticeable blemishes.
The Snow-3 die pair is only rarely known in proof. The PR66 PCGS 1856 Flying Eagle that sold as lot 5271 in Heritage's August 2001 Atlanta ANA Signature Sale is attributed as Snow-3, as it the PR67 specimen listed on the current (11/03) PCGS Population Report. The present coin, an unmistakable business strike, was the first coin photo sealed by Eagle Eye in the initial promotion of their service that provides a second opinion on a coin's grade. A unique opportunity to acquire a truly Mint State representative of one of the most popular coins in U.S. numismatics. (#2013) (Registry values: P5, N60000) (PCGS# 2013)
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