Choice Brilliant Proof 1861 Liberty Ten1861 PR 64 PCGS. While the business strikes of this year may be one of the more frequently encountered dates in the series, proof 1861 tens are rarities of the highest order of magnitude. Only 69 proofs were originally struck, and the attrition rate was very high for this issue. It has been reliably estimated that perhaps as few as 6 or 7 proofs remain today. Apparently the coins leftover and unsold at year's end were melted in January 1862. Curiously, there are two die varieties of this low mintage issue. This piece was struck from the same dies as the ANS coin with the date low in the field and no die file marks at the 7th star. The fields are deeply mirrored and the devices provide a modest amount of frost, but enough to give the coin a rather profound cameo contrast. This piece was formerly in the collection of Louis Eliasberg, and is identifiable as such by the tiny, coppery colored dot in the center of Liberty's cheek on the obverse. The reverse shows some planchet roughness and several small grease stains in the field above the eagle's head. Lightly hairlined and undoubtedly one of the finest examples known of this rare proof issue.
Ex: James Ten Eyck Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/22); John H. Clapp Collection, 1942; United States Gold Collection (B&R, 10/82), lot 714. (NGC ID# 28EX, PCGS# 8797)
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