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1846 Seated Dollar, Eye-Appealing PR66
1846 $1 PR66 NGC. Breen-5436. The design elements are fully
struck on this beautifully preserved Premium Gem proof, showing
squared rims and bold dentilation. Splashes of medium-intensity
orange-gold, olive-green, lavender, and cobalt-blue accent the
reflective fields, while the relief elements assume a soft mauve
patina. The only identifiable mark, however minuscule, is seen on
the left (facing) hand. This is an exceptional piece sure to draw
the undivided attention of Seated Liberty proof aficionados.
The Single Finest Certified
Variety: Breen-5436, Repunched Date. Two obverse dies were used for the 1846 proof dollar. One is referred to as a "blundered date," which was first entered too low and obliquely, then partially effaced and corrected. Parts of the upper digits 846 show at the bottoms of the primary date. In the April 1997, write-up of the Louis Eliasberg 1846 proof dollar, Bowers notes the repunched die was apparently retired after a few dozen impressions were made. A second obverse die shows no repunching and is sometimes referred to as the "perfect date." This coin represents the "blundered date" variant, with the undertype clearly visible at the bottom of the numerals.
Population Data (5/14): This piece is the sole finest-certified example and the finest by two points at NGC, which has seen 14 pieces in all grades, with none receiving a Cameo designation. PCGS has certified 10 examples in all grades, the finest a single PR65, and only one PR64 piece awarded a Cameo designation. An unknown number of those are likely resubmissions.
Heritage Commentary: A relatively large number of this issue are known compared to other proof Seated dollars struck in the 1840s, though the 1846 is still rare in all grades, which speaks to the profound scarcity of early proof dollars in general. The exact number of 1846 examples struck is uncertain, though Bowers estimates a mintage of 40 to 60 pieces (rather large for the period) and suggests the extra coins were intended to be gifts for diplomats and/or military officers, though it is equally possible that the Mint director ordered the higher production total due to the expectation of increased collector demand throughout the year.
Survival estimates vary, with Bowers suggesting 30 to 40 pieces are extant in all grades; certified population totals, however, seem to suggest a smaller number of survivors, and the PCGS website estimates only 20 to 30 pieces are known. Whatever the case, this example stands in a class by itself, not only in terms of numeric grade, but also on grounds of aesthetic appeal.
Provenance: Phil Kaufman; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2387.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24ZW, PCGS# 6987)
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