1879-O Branch Mint Proof Morgan Dollar1879-O PR 64 PCGS. The 1879-O proof dollar is undoubtedly one of the best known of all branch mint proofs. The existence of these coins has been known since 1880 or so, but they were largely forgotten until rediscovered more than twenty years ago. Allegedly twelve proofs were struck on February 20, 1879 to commemorate the reopening of the mint after being shut down in 1861. Today only four pieces are known. This is the #1 specimen as listed in Wayne Miller's second edition on Morgan and Peace dollars, page 219. The coin is accompanied by extensive documentation. The most important item is an undated letter of authenticity from Walter Breen, circa 1973, on F.C.I. letterhead. A PNG certificate is also included, as are several letters to and from Wayne Miller and Bruce Amspacher regarding the coin, and a photostatic copy of a 1985 ANACS certificate (the certificate is apparently lost now).
The coin itself has a rather drab steel-gray appearance overall. However, the gray patina shows significant portions of underlying golden-rose and lilac patina in the fields when held beneath a light. The fields are deeply mirrored on each side, and the overall appearance of the piece is comparable to any Philadelphia proof from the period. Identifiable by a tiny planchet flake in the exergual area above the right serif of the 7 in the date. A rare opportunity for the advanced Morgan dollar collector. Population: 3 in 64, only 1 finer (6/95).
Ex: 1973 Central States Auction (RARCOA, 5/73), lot 302; Auction '79 (RARCOA's session, 7/79), lot 1046; Wayne Miller; Bruce Amspacher; Fred Sweeney; Anita Maxwell Trust of Silver Dollars. (NGC ID# 27Z3, PCGS# 7345)
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