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Extremely Rare Proof 1841 Seated Dollar

1841 $1 PR63 NGC. There are some U.S. coins that are so rare that their absence is not noted from the marketplace except by a few dedicated specialists. The 1841 proof Seated dollar is such a coin. We have never offered one for public auction, at least not in the past 12 years. In fact, there have only been nine appearances at public auction since 1987, and undoubtedly several of those are repeat offerings. The Bowers-Borckardt reference states that 10-15 proofs were minted, and in our opinion this estimate may be on the high side judging from the paucity of auction appearances. The BB reference only lists one piece held by an institution, predictably the Smithsonian.
Struck from the stock reverse die used on most proof dollars from the 1840s, the first and most easily seen diagnostic being the presence of two minute defects on the right side of the final A in AMERICA. Breen said he had examined a proof of this date that he called the "Small Stars" obverse, from a die that had been drastically repolished which resulted in noticeably smaller stars--a situation analogous to the 1838 "Small Stars" half dimes. The presence of such a coin raises the possibility of a very limited number of restrikes that were struck from rusted and heavily lapped dies. This is merely speculation on our part, of course, as we have not seen nor examined such a coin and neither had the authors of the BB dollar reference. This is a deeply mirrored proof striking and a coin that shows far superior striking characteristics than the 1840 listed above.
The surfaces are lightly hairlined and there is just the slightest overlay of speckled golden-rose and lilac toning on each side. The population data from the two major services indicate that three other PR63 coins have been certified by NGC, none by PCGS, with one finer (a PCGS PR64). But the subject of condition seems to us to fall under the heading of "Who Cares?" since so few pieces are known of the 1841. As long as the collector has the opportunity to bid on a verifiable proof striking, condition is truly a secondary consideration.
From The Dr. John L. Pellegrini Collection of Liberty Seated Dollars.(#6982)(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 24ZR, PCGS# 6982)

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Auction Dates
July, 2005
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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