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Important 1866 With Motto PR65 Ten Dollar
With an Unacknowledged Cameo Contrast

1866 $10 PR65 PCGS. This year, 1866, is one of the pivotal dates in numismatics. It is in a small group of dates that need little or no explanation: 1840, 1873, 1907, and 1916. When the Reverend M.R. Watkinson urged Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase in 1863 to add some reference to God to U.S. coins he could not have known how far-reaching his request was. Undoubtedly because of the million men killed in the Civil War, and the nation's subsequent need to believe that a million men died for something, Chase gave the idea of such a motto consideration and signed an act on March 3, 1865 to include the motto on coinage. A number of patterns resulted, and the following year saw IN GOD WE TRUST added to the reverse of many U.S. coins. This created a distinctly different reverse design type, and 1866 has traditionally been used as a dividing point for the denominations where the motto was added.
Only 30 proofs were struck of the 1866 ten dollar, a mintage that is consistent with other years from the 1860s through the 1880s. However, very few of those 30 proofs are known today. Akers (1980) estimated 10-12 pieces remain. Breen (1988) stated he believed only 8-10 survived. It appears that Breen's estimate may have been closer to the mark. Adding non-Cameo, Cameo, and Deep/Ultra Cameo coins together only yields 11 submission events. Undoubtedly, several of those are resubmissions, bringing the total known probably down to the 8-10 range.
This is the finest of the three non-Cameo proofs that have been certified. The next closest coins are a pair of PR62 pieces. Among Cameo and Deep/Ultra Cameo pieces, there is one Cameo PR65, one Cameo PR66, and one PR66 Ultra Cameo.
Apparently this coin has been in the same collection for many years. We would guess at least as many years as the grading services have designated Cameo and Deep/Ultra Cameo, because this coin is an obvious cameo. The fields show the expected deep reflectivity one would expect from a proof. What is unexpected, however, is the thick mint frost that sets up such a strong white-on-black contrast. Pinpoint striking definition is also noted on all the design elements. The surfaces are lacking in any mentionable or noticeable flaws that might be useful for tracing the pedigree of this important piece of proof gold.

(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28F4, PCGS# 8806)

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Auction Dates
August, 2007
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