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Very Rare, Toned Gem Proof 1838 Gobrecht Dollar1838 PS$1 Name Omitted, Judd-84 Restrike, Pollock-93, R.5, PR65 NGC. Die Alignment III. Reeded Edge. Silver. Like the Judd-58 above, all 1838 dollars are considered patterns. Unlike the circulation issues of 1836 (Judd-60) and 1839 (Judd-104), no 1838 dollars were intentionally made for public distribution. The 1838 dollars were made to test two new design features: (1) a reeded edge, and (2) the removal of the 26 stars from the reverse of the 1836 dollar and the placing of 13 new stars around the obverse. It is clear that the dies for the 1838 dollar were made in 1838; however, it is not certain how many (if any) 1838 dollars were actually struck in 1838. Only one original specimen is known, and that coin is a part of the U.S. Mint Collection now retained by the Smithsonian. However, the Smithsonian specimen exists in Die Alignment IV orientation (not Alignment I, as asserted by Breen), and was struck from an uncracked reverse die. All 1838 dollars that have been observed in private collections or museum holdings appear to be restrikes made in the late 1850s under the authority of Director James Ross Snowden, or in the late 1860s by Director Henry R. Linderman. Like the present specimen, the restrikes were made to satisfy collector demand for these beautiful coins. The restrikes are generally found in Die Alignment III orientation (i.e., head of Liberty opposite the NE of ONE) as on this coin; however, a few restrikes were also made in Die Alignment IV. Although the exact mintage of 1838 dollars is unknown, recent estimates suggest that fewer than 250 coins were ultimately made, and that only a small fraction of these coins survive today. The restrikes can be distinguished from the originals by the presence of a faint die crack through portions of MERI, which is faintly seen on this coin.
The present coin also exhibits deeply mirrored surfaces and is pleasingly toned with deep cobalt and gray-purple toning--evenly balanced from one side to the other. Only a small number of hairlines are evident on either side, and are consistent with the Proof 65 grade. A small area of planchet roughness is noted next to the denticles between 7 and 8 o'clock on the obverse, which easily serves as a pedigree identifier for future researchers.
A total of fifty-two 1838 dollars have been certified by PCGS (30) and NGC (22), with only seven coins at the Proof 65 level, and none higher. The present specimen is certainly among the finest known 1838 dollars. (#11352) (NGC ID# BLXE, PCGS# 11352)
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