1849 $1 PR64 NGC....
Incredible 1849 Seated Dollar Rarity, PR641849 $1 PR64 NGC. Q. David Bowers in his 1993 Silver Dollar Encyclopedia lists only a single variety of proof 1849 Seated dollars "with imperfection on [the] 4 in [the] date" and the shared "reverse of 1840-1850." Duncan Lee, in his August 2006 supplement to the Coin Dealer Newsletter, agrees with Bowers, stating "all proofs are restrikes. The date shows a distinctive imperfection on the 4 in the date, and is combined with the common [restrike] reverse."
The present specimen matches the Bowers and Lee descriptions of the obverse die. The inner triangle of the 4 has minor die fill, and the 4 has two different levels of relief. The relief is comparatively low from its base to the intersection of the crosslet and upright. The relief is higher on the upper portion of the upright, and on the diagonal.
But the reverse die differs. It is not the 1840-1850 shared reverse, which shows die lumps on the final A in AMERICA. The present reverse has a perfect final A. The vertical die lines also differ from the restrike reverse in their penetration of the horizontal shield lines. Line 3 of stripe 1 extends through all but one of the horizontal shield lines. Line 2 of stripe 2 extends to horizontal line 4.
Whether original or restrike, all proofs are highly desirable. Bowers (1993) wrote "The proof Liberty Seated silver dollar of this date stands as the rarest of the 1840s, in my opinion. ... By any measure, the 1849 proof dollar is an extreme rarity today. Indeed, its rarity cannot be overestimated. In 40 years I have seen only three specimens." Referring to Bowers' assessment, Lee adds, "Certainly a strong argument can be made in support of that assertion as the population reports indicate that this issue is tied for third [for the entire proof Liberty Seated series]." Of course, resubmissions over the past 23 years have likely inflated third-party population and census data. In our January 2009 FUN sale, we presented an extensive roster of eight examples, including two impaired pieces.
The present needle-sharp specimen is unabraded and has light sea-green and golden-brown peripheral toning. For those inspired to research pedigrees of 1849 proofs, we note a tiny lintmark near the upper right corner of the final A in AMERICA.
Ex: Amon G. Carter, Jr. Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 257; Queller Family Collection of Silver Dollars (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2146.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24ZZ, PCGS# 6990)
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