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Lot
5181

1802 $1 PR65 Cameo PCGS. CAC. B-8, BB-302, High R.7....

2012 August 2-5 US Coins Signature Auction- Philadelphia #1173

 
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Auction Ended On: Aug 3, 2012
Item Activity: 11 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
201 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Description:

1802 Proof Dollar Novodel, PR65 Cameo
Only Four Examples Known, B-8, BB-302
Condition Census Number One
1802 $1 PR65 Cameo PCGS. CAC. B-8, BB-302, High R.7. The 1802 proof Draped Bust dollar is a coin that blends absolute rarity, intense historic interest, and incredible aesthetic appeal into one irresistible package. Unknown until 1876, the 1802 proof has been a sought-after issue since the time of its first appearance, but the coins have been the subject of much controversy, as well. Today the issue is viewed as a classic rarity, with a fascinating story that involves some of the most famous numismatic figures of the 19th century. In this lot, Heritage Auctions is privileged to offer the finest known example of the 1802 proof dollar, from a surviving population of only four coins.

First Appearance
The 1802 proof dollar first appeared on the numismatic scene in 1876, in the possession of John W. Haseltine, one of the foremost coin dealers of the time. The coin was showcased as part of a complete set of 1801, 1802, and 1803 proofs and a Class III 1804 dollar. Haseltine exhibited the set to collectors at the sale of the Jewett Collection, held by coin dealer Edward Cogan. This could be construed as one of the first bourse-floor exhibits, a practice familiar to all collectors at modern coin conventions, but most unusual in the 19th century. Coin dealer Edouard Frossard left the following account of the event in the Coin Collector's Journal of March 1876:

"At the time of the Jewett sale, and while awaiting the hour of business, we had the pleasure, in common with several collectors present, of inspecting four American dollars, dates 1801, 1802, 1803 and 1804. The first three named are not particularly rare dates, and are generally found in collections, but what gave them very great value in the eyes of all present, was their perfectly uncirculated, in fact, proof condition. It is pretty well known that in the early days of the Republic but few coins were placed in collections in this country, hence a very limited number of proofs were struck."


Haseltine informed Frossard that he had found the set in a private collection from England, but the well-preserved condition of the coins and some of their design features caused contemporary numismatists to view this story of the coins' origin with suspicion. Haseltine experienced considerable difficulty finding a buyer for his set.

Design Features of the 1802 Proof Silver Dollar
The borders of the 1802 proof dollar, and all the other issues in Haseltine's set, were of a much different style from that seen on standard Draped Bust dollars dated 1795-1803. The coins in the set had a raised border surrounding a circle of small beads, rather than the ring of elongated denticles of different sizes seen on coins of the 1790s and early 1800s. This beaded rim feature was not seen on U.S. coins until the advent of the close collar in the late 1820s.
Although the edge lettering on the coin offered here is no longer viewable because of the PCGS holder, the description of this coin in prior auction appearances notes the lettering is slightly crushed and the outer portions of the edges are slightly beveled, as if the edges had been ground on a metal lathe. In addition, the surfaces of the coin's edge reportedly lack prooflike reflectivity. These details indicate that the edge lettering was impressed before the coin was struck, and the coin was struck with a close collar that squeezed the edge of the coin as it expanded, causing the letters to deform. The proof surfaces were dulled during this operation, as well. The edges were then beveled to disguise the effects of compression and prevent a wire rim effect. Once again, close-collar technology was not available until the late 1820s.
The letter and device punches used to produce the dies for the 1802 proof dollars were the same ones used to form the dies for the regular-issue 1802 Draped Bust dollars, except for the 2 in the date. This numeral has a curly vertical tip, of a style that was probably copied from the half dollars (PCGS# 86905)

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