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1895 Morgan Dollar, PR66 Cameo
Always Sought-After, Proof-Only Date

1895 $1 PR66 Cameo NGC. In the narrowest sense, the 1895 proof Morgan dollar is not much rarer or less rare than its cousins -- other proof silver dollar issues from the 1890s. The well-known mintage of 880 proof 1895 dollars in percentage terms is not significantly different from either the production of the 1894 proofs, at 972 pieces, nor the 1896 proofs, at 762 coins. But from a broader perspective, what makes the 1895 proof Morgans is not what they possess, but rather what they lack -- their counterparts, the mythical 12,000 business strike Morgans.

Were the 12,000 business strikes that appear in some Mint records ever produced, and if so, were they dated 1895? If no business strikes were ever made, this puts the 1895 in the category of a proof-only issue, a class of numismatics where it has lots of classmates -- the 1875 and 1876 proof-only three dollar gold issues; the three proof-only issues from the three cent nickel series, in particular the low-mintage 1877 and 1878 issues; and the clandestinely made and/or distributed 1884 and 1885 Trade dollar issues.

Even if business strikes were manufactured, all available evidence -- or lack of evidence -- points either to their bearing a date other than 1895, or else being melted in the Pittman Act furnaces of 1919-1920 (the actual date of the mass meltings). With each passing year it seems increasingly likely that no definitive business strike 1895 Morgan dollar will ever appear in the marketplace -- although it would certainly be front-page news if it did.

While some of the proof-only rarities cited above have much-smaller mintages than the 1895 Morgan dollar, it must be remembered that Morgan dollar collectors are legion, perhaps numbering 100 times as many as specialists in those series. As a result of the healthy mintage and enormous demand, series specialists know two things: that they can find an example in the grade they want, and that it will be the subject of intense desire on the part of a cadre of dedicated collectors.

This Premium Gem proof is undesignated as a Cameo, although it exhibits strong contrast, with satiny silver devices floating above full and deeply mirrored fields. Delicate champagne color is limited to the outer rims of this otherwise brilliant and untoned piece. A tiny planchet flake above WE on the reverse is the only apparent blemish on the surfaces that are pristine in every other regard. The strike is bold overall, with slight weakness over the ear, as always.
From The Fenn Family Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 27ZR, PCGS# 87330)

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Auction Dates
February, 2013
7th-10th Thursday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 14
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,348

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