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Unique Snow-PR3 1864-L Proof Indian Cent, PR64 Red

1864 1C L On Ribbon PR64 Red PCGS, Eagle Eye Photo Seal, Card Included. Snow-PR3. The proof 1864 With L Indian cent is a legendary rarity, one that has been well known and well respected since shortly after its production. Rick Snow's The Flying Eagle and Indian Cent Attribution Guide, second edition, notes that by 1869, the coin was sufficiently in demand to prompt someone at the Mint to produce restrikes, likely William DuBois, the Mint assayer who also served as curator of the Mint Collection. An added 10 specimens were struck, using a refurbished obverse die and a regular proof reverse from 1868-1871. Snow designates those restrike pieces as PR2, of which 10 are known today. The obverse of the PR1 variety is remarkably similar to the PR3, except that on the PR1 pairing, the left edge of the 1 is between the denticles, while on the PR3 the left edge is over the left side of a denticle. The reverse of the PR3 marriage uses a reverse from the 1864 No L PR2 variety, with minute die lines in the field at 1 o'clock.
There are 18 pieces known between the three varieties, according to the Snow reference: seven PR1, 10 PR2, and one PR3. At the time Snow wrote that volume, in about 2003, this piece was unique, as the only example known from the PR3 pairing. Several years later, it is still unique, the only piece known from this die pairing, according to a recent conversation with Flying Eagle and Indian cent guru Snow. Under high magnification, repunching clearly shows on the 4 in the date. The bottom left serif, vertical crossbar, and the front vertex of a 4 are all quite visible northwest of the second, final punching. As a further aid to authentication should any future pieces be discovered, the center of the loops in the 8, both top and bottom, show a series of near-vertical raised die lines. A trio of raised die lines is also visible in the 6, these slanted slightly northeast, above the loop and below the ball of the 6. On the reverse a tiny apparent die crack runs from the inside right vertex of the N in ONE onto the cross-stroke of that letter. The obverse is only slightly mellowed brick-red, while the reverse offers light tan hues, and both sides show good contrast between the fields and devices. The few tiny flecks are unworthy of singular mention and visible only under a glass. The strike is expectedly bold and unassailable.
For the Indian cent specialist, the rarity of the proof 1864-L need not be stressed. The rarity of this unique die pairing only confirms the illustrious nature of this, likely the single most important Indian cent known. Accompanied by an Eagle Eye Photo Seal, signed by Rick Snow.
Ex: The Palm Beach Collection, Orlando FUN (Heritage, 7/2004), lot 4375, which realized $118,450; The Alex Highland Collection, Long Beach (Heritage, 6/2002), lot 5202, which realized $138,000; Halpern and Warner Collections, Bowers and Merena, (3/1987), lot 232; "The Pennsylvania Estate."(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 229G, PCGS# 2281)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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