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Branch Mint Proof 1887-O Morgan Dollar/The Sensation of the 1976 ANA

1887-O MS 65 Deep Mirror Prooflike NGC. Possible Branch Mint Proof. In Wayne Miller's masterful reference, The Morgan and Peace Dollar Textbook, he divides branch mint proofs into five categories. Class I coins are authorized, definite proofs. Class II coins are unauthorized but definite proof strikings. Class III pieces are possible but doubtful as proofs. Class IV are doubtful and unseen by Miller. And, Class V are pieces unseen by Miller and definitely not proofs. He categorizes this 1887-O as a Class II piece--an unauthorized but definite proof.
On page 212 of Miller's book he discusses this coin at length, and we reproduce his extensive remarks (in part) here. After discussing several other coins shown him by Amon Carter at the 1976 ANA, Miller states, "...The final coin which Mr. Carter handed to me was, at first glance, an obvious proof 1887 Morgan dollar. Upon examining the reverse of the coin, I was amazed to see an "O" mintmark.
"This coin exhibited a light blue peripheral coloration yielding to a beautiful yellow at the center. It was very boldly struck. This was significant, since virtually all prooflike business strike 1887-O dollars are somewhat lacking in highpoint definition. There were a few obverse rim nicks, but otherwise no contact marks at all. The rim was square around much of the circumference of the coin. In summary, it was a gorgeous coin, an obvious branch mint proof, and the sensation of the convention. Mr. Carter refused several offers up to $7,000 for the coin."
We do not know why the coin did not certify as a branch mint proof at NGC. When noted world coin expert, Louis Collins, examined the coin, he could not explain the lack of proof designation either, adding, "It walks, it talks, and sings the Star Spangled Banner. What else do you want?" We have to agree. To date this is the only known 1887-O branch mint proof dollar.
Ex: Amon Carter Collection (Stack's 1/84), lot 338; Wayne Miller Collection (Superior, 1/86), lot 1381 (realizing $19,800 in each sale); Anita Maxwell Trust of Silver Dollars. (NGC ID# 27ZD, PCGS# 7346)

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Auction Dates
August, 1995
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 1
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