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Lot
6235

1864 1C L On Ribbon PR65 Red NGC. Snow-PR2....

2013 September 25 - 29 US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach #1189

 
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Auction Ended On: Sep 27, 2013
Item Activity: 13 Internet/mail/phone bidders
3,434 page views
Location: Long Beach Convention Center
100 S. Pine Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802

Description:
1864 Indian Cent, PR65 Red
L On Ribbon, Snow-PR2
Very Rare Issue, Ex: Norweb
1864 1C L On Ribbon PR65 Red NGC. Snow-PR2. Ex: Norweb. The 1864 L on Ribbon proof is one of the classic rarities in the U.S. cent series. Only 20-40 examples are believed to have been struck, just 20 pieces of which are traced today. The fascinating history of these pieces was published in Rick Snow's book The Flying Eagle and Indian Cent Attribution Guide, Vol. 2: 1859-1869. The die pair of the present coin is listed as Snow-PR2 in that reference. There is an obverse die line (as struck) on Liberty's neck (under the ear) that matches the diagnostics given by Walter Breen in his 1977 book Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins: 1722-1977. Since that time additional discoveries have been made which shed new light on this enigmatic issue.

The initial proof delivery of the 1864 L on Ribbon cent was 10-20 examples. These coins were either held as die trials or sold to collectors in a random manner. Mint officials probably considered the addition of Longacre's initial to be a minor change that was not worthy of special consideration. It was not until a few years later that the existence of these proofs became known, by which time the advanced collectors who desired examples could not locate the coins. When Henry Linderman began his first term as Mint Director in 1867, the proof 1864 L on Ribbon Cent had already become a hotly desired numismatic item. During Linderman's first term (1867-1869), and continuing for a few years thereafter, many numismatic delicacies were restruck at the Mint. Far from being considered pariahs, the coins restruck during the "Linderman" period are some of the most sought-after issues in all of U.S. numismatics!

At least 10 (and perhaps more) additional 1864 L on Ribbon proofs were struck sometime around 1871, including the present coin. Rick Snow is credited with this discovery by matching the reverse die of the present example with the regular issue proof dies of that year. The unique die lines on the reverse are the same as on proofs from 1869 through 1871, although the 1869 and 1870 proofs were from earlier die states.

Virtually nothing was known about the proof 1864 L on Ribbon Cent until Breen published his work in 1977. Breen mistakenly identified the coins with the diagnostics of the present specimen as the only true proofs. This created a dilemma for the owners and sellers of the other proof examples. Most catalogers described the proofs that did not match Breen's diagnostics as copper die trials, or they conveniently overlooked Breen's research. It was not until the Bowers and Merena Higgins Sale of 1984 that Breen relented and proclaimed that there was a second die pair for the proof 1864 L on Ribbon (the original Snow-PR1 dies). Presently nine examples of that die pair are known. In 1997, Rick Snow identified a third die pair (Snow-PR3) when a unique specimen was offered in Bowers and Merena's Halpern and Warner Sale. Only 10 examples of the Snow- PR2 Indian cent are known, bringing the total to 20 specimens known for all three varieties. Recent auction sales of the Snow-PR2 include the PR65 Red and Brown PCGS coin in lot 3146 of the Pittsburgh Signature (Heritage, 10/2011), which realized $161,000.

The present coin is a spectacular Gem that traces its history to the fabled Norweb Collection. A custom holder from Capital Plastics accompanies the lot, along with a copy of the Norweb catalog by Bowers and Merena (10/1987), where the coin was described in lot 156. It exhibits sharply detailed design elements throughout, with the L on the ribbon boldly delineated. The devices are frosty, creating some elements of contrast with the deeply reflective fields. The well-preserved surfaces retain their original red color with a few highlights of gold. Only a few microscopic specks of carbon are evident. Listed on page 115 of the 2014 Guide Book. Census: 1 in 65 Red, 0 finer (8/13).
From The New York Collection of 1864-L Indian Cents.(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 229G, PCGS# 2281)

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