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Very Rare Gem Proof 1844 Silver Dollar
From the Pittman and Kaufman Collections

1844 $1 PR65 NGC. Ex: Pittman-Kaufman. The 1844 proof dollar is a great rarity, and the Kaufman coin is the second finest certified example, out of a total roster of 10 survivors. David Bowers, in his silver and trade dollar reference work (1993), estimates the original mintage to be between 20 and 30 pieces, and the number of survivors to be between seven and 14 coins. David Akers, on the other hand, cataloging John Jay Pittman's 1844 Proof Set, from which the Kaufman specimen came, says: "I would place the number at the high end of that range, possibly 10-12."

We developed the following roster based on examination of auction appearances and other references:

1. PR66 Cameo NGC. John G. Mills (S.H. & H. Chapman, 4/1904); J.M. Clapp; Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 2208; Bowers and Merena (8/1999), lot 252; American Numismatic Rarities (8/2004), lot 576; Rod Sweet Collection (Bowers and Merena, 7/2005), lot 1005; Bowers and Merena (8/2006), lot 2347.

2. PR65 NGC. The Kaufman coin. Numismatic Gallery (4/1948); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 833; Philip Kaufman. Part of Pittman's 1844 proof set. The Seated silver coins have been kept intact by Phil Kaufman.

3. PR64 Cameo NGC. Share Collection; American Numismatic Rarities (1/2005), lot 679.

4. PR64 NGC. Lester Merkin (11/1964, privately); Butterfield, Johnson, Gillio (1/1996), lot 3690; Bowers and Merena (3/1998), lot 1444; Dr. John L. Pellegrini (Heritage, 7/2005), lot 10260; Heritage (1/2007), lot 1061.

5. PR64 NGC. Garrett Collection (Stack's, 3/1976), lot 260; Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 11/2004), lot 1509.

6. PR64 PCGS. Golden Jubilee Sale (B. Max Mehl, 5/1950), lot 814; Amon Carter Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 250; Queller Family Collection (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2141. Apparently earlier from the World's Greatest Collection and the 1949 ANA Sale.

7. Proof. Bowers and Ruddy (5/1974), lot 56; Bowers and Ruddy (10/1977), lot 1048

8. PR61 NGC. Bowers and Merena (5/1995), lot 1214.

9. PR60 ANACS Heritage 7/29/2003 8283 $4,025.00

10. Proof. Smithsonian Institution.

Additional Appearances:

A. PR58 PCGS. Certified by PCGS and appearing in an August 1999 auction of a smaller company. Possibly the same as number 10 in the list above.

B. Proof. Dr. Judd cased set, mentioned by Breen, "now in a N.Y. state private collection." That New York Collection is the Pittman Collection. If Dr. Judd had a set, it is probably long since broken up, representing one of the other coins recorded above.

C. Proof. Cass Collection (Empire, Stack's, 11/1957), lot 1726.

D. Proof. Haseltine Type Table; R. Coulton Davis; Davis-Graves (Stack's, 4/1954), lot 1342.

E. Proof. Golding Collection (Stack's, 6/1952), lot 235.

F. Proof. Frederic Geiss Collection (B. Max Mehl, 2/1947), lot 338.

G. Proof. Col. E.H.R. Green; Jack Roe Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1945), lot 440.

Sumptuous iridescence of cobalt-blue, violet, and golden-tan in the mirrored obverse fields accentuates the satiny gold and violet motif on the Kaufman Gem. The reverse, on the other hand, features light silver-tan color resting on reflective fields, and bright silvery design elements. The devices benefited from a powerful strike, as they are razor sharp throughout. Both faces are very well preserved, though high magnification reveals some faint hairlines in the fields. A minute, unobtrusive mark on Liberty's cheek and another above the eagle's right (left facing) wing might help to identify the coin for future catalogers. This piece is certain to draw the attention of connoisseurs of Seated Liberty proof coinage.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24ZU, PCGS# 6985)

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Auction Dates
June, 2008
26th-29th Thursday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bids: 2
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