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Famous 1895 Morgan Dollar, PR64 Cameo1895 $1 PR64 Cameo NGC. CAC. Even relatively recent recruits to the many pleasures of numismatics can cite the two figures relevant to the 1895 Morgan dollar: 880 proofs, 12,000 business strikes. Those are the two data that are the subject of so much conjecture and speculation, the former unremarkable, save for the complete absence of the latter.
Although Mint records indicate a delivery of 12,000 business strikes in June 1895, no examples have ever turned up in any collection. If the 1895 business strikes were indeed produced, they must have been melted in the Pittman Act meltings of 1918 and afterward. (And a quantity of 12 bags [1,000 coins each] of 1895-dated dollars would scarcely be noticed among the 270,000 bags of dollars, all told, melted at that time.) Another possibility is that the dollars produced were dated 1894; although researchers such as Roger Burdette have put extensive time and effort into this numismatic conundrum, we may never know the answer with certainty.
In any case, unless a business strike 1895 does surface someday, we are left with the 880 proof Morgan dollars. In an article in the Coin Dealer Newsletter Monthly Supplement dated Sept. 10, 2010, author Barry Chappell points out that only the first few strikes from fresh proof dies each year would qualify for the Ultra or Deep Cameo designation. That is not news to seasoned collectors. However, then he makes a more interesting point, that the 1895 proof Morgan is within the "sweet spot" of Cameo or Ultra/Deep Cameo examples:
"1893 to 1899 is without a doubt the 'sweet spot' of Morgan Dollar production. Many of the coins in the 1890's have drop dead gorgeous toning. Incredibly gorgeous Ultra Cameo exist for all years, with 1896 being the most populous. If you are looking to buy a Proof Morgan Dollar with the utmost Cameo contrast and in a condition almost identical to the day it was made, then 1896 is the year for you. ...
"Everybody talks about the 1895 Morgan Dollar. Yes, the 1895's tend to be one of the most expensive coins in putting together a high-grade Proof Morgan Dollar set, but the coins tend to be available."
Available in the abstract or not, 1895 Morgans as attractive as this PR64 Cameo example seldom come up for auction. A gold-gray overtone adds a touch of color to the charcoal-and-white contrast on each side. Strong mirrors show just a few faint hairlines and a couple of contacts on the reverse. Census: 32 in 64 Cameo, 51 finer (5/11).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 27ZR, PCGS# 87330)
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