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1921 $1 Zerbe Special Strike MS65 PCGS. An amazing Gem with prooflike surfaces creating cameo...

2007 Dallas, TX Signature Coin Auction #450

 
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Auction Ended On: Apr 9, 2007
Item Activity: 12 Internet/mail/phone bidders
9,264 page views
Location: March 22-25, 2007Viewing Available at the Baltimore Coin Show.
Description:
Gem 1921 Zerbe Special Strike Morgan Dollar
1921 $1 Zerbe Special Strike MS65 PCGS. An amazing Gem with prooflike surfaces creating cameo contrast between the fields and devices on both sides, this coin is truly something special, and not the simple "circulation strike with a semi-prooflike character" as described by Dave Bowers. Opinion is divided regarding the status of these pieces. At one time, they were called "Zerbe Proofs." However, today the designation of "Special Strike" alludes to differing opinions of various numismatic students. In A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars, Bowers continued: "In the view of the writer, Zerbe Proofs have no basis in numismatic fact or history, although opinions differ on the subject. It seems highly unlikely that these were produced as proofs for collectors. If indeed they were furnished to Farran Zerbe, a leading numismatic entrepreneur of the era, it is likely that they were simply regular production pieces." Bowers clearly does not like these pieces, thus has spun them with negative connotation, regrettably describing them as being struck on "hairlined dies."
In our view, this piece is not a regular production piece, but rather, is a specially made coin that has been handled with special care since the day it was made. The fields are fully mirrored, although not deeply so as expected on true proofs. The strike is far finer than any regular 1921 Morgan dollar we have seen, and the quality is truly that of a magnificent Gem. The fields exhibit extensive die polishing lines, indicative of a specially prepared die. We believe that these coins were produced on normal planchets from polished dies, giving the prooflike appearance that is seen here. Had the planchets also been polished, then these coins would likely be indistinguishable from proofs of earlier years.
From The Jackson Hole Collection.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 257A, PCGS# 7341)

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