1853 $1 Restrike PR66 Cameo NGC....
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Finest Certified by a Wide Margin
In the August 2006 issue of the "Monthly Supplement" for the Coin Dealer Newsletter, Duncan Lee mentioned that "this issue has been surprisingly difficult to find in proof. Based on the combined census, the 1853 rates among the top five rarest issues." It is likely that somewhere from 10 to 15 coins survive today from a mintage of 15 to 20 pieces, the higher-than-normal survival easily explained by their restrike status, i.e. being struck for collectors. The roster below may contain duplicates but is instructive in demonstrating that most of the survivors are considerably below the Gem grade.
1853 Proof Restrike Seated Dollar Roster
1. PR66 Cameo. The present coin. New Netherlands Coin Co. (7/1944); John Jay Pittman (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 1685; Kaufman Collection / Milwaukee ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1787, which brought $184,000.
2. PR65 NGC. A.J. Ostheimer Collection, (Lester Merkin, 9/1968), lot 350; ANA Auction (Kagin's, 8/1977), lot 1794; Robison Collection, Part II (Stack's, 2/1982), lot 1908; Auction '82 (Paramount, 8/1982), lot 1747; Auction '84 (Paramount, 7/1984), lot 739; David Queller; Queller Collection / Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2150, realized $103,500.
3. Choice Brilliant Proof. E.E. Lamb Collection (B. Max Mehl, 2/1947), lot 350; Frederic W. Geiss Collection (B. Max Mehl, 2/1947), lot 350; Floyd Starr Collection (Stack's, 10/1992), lot 597, which realized $46,200.
4. PR62 NGC. Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 11/2004), lot 1518, realized $69,000; Rod Sweet Collection (Bowers and Merena, 7/2005), lot 1014, realized $50,600. Possibly the same as the Butterfield coin, in K below.
5. PR61 NGC. Pre-Long Beach Sale (Superior, 10/2000), lot 4394, which realized $24,150; Dr. John L. Pellegrini Collection of Liberty Seated Dollars (Heritage, 7/2005), lot 10269; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 1065, which realized $25,300; FUN Signature, (Heritage, 1/2008), lot 2948, which realized $29,900; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2010), lot 1136.
Note: The toning patterns on this coin have changed radically from one appearance to another, but a long curling lint mark from Liberty's arm into the right obverse field and a couple of surface marks just to the left of the cap show in all the images of this coin, identifying it as the same piece.
6. PR61 PCGS. Premier Sale (Superior, 1/1984), lot 1037; Dallas Signature (Heritage, 3/2013), lot 3731.
7. PR55 PCGS. Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2012), lot 1169, "gold-gray patina with blue-green and gray elements at the margins," bought in.
8. Proof. Amon Carter Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 262.
9. Proof. Heman Ely Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 1/1884), lot 122; Garrett Collection (Stack's, 3/1976), lot 271.
A. Proof. John F. McCoy Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 5/1864), lot 382, called proof in the catalog, but USPatterns.com believes this coin was a prooflike business strike, possibly the coin from lot 47 of the Joseph Finotti Collection (Woodward, 11/1862).
B. Proof. Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1233.
C. Proof. Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 996.
D. Proof. Peter Mougey Collection (Thomas Elder, 9/1910), lot 1277, sold as part of an eight-piece silver and minor proof set, probably assembled by Mougey from individual coins.
E. Proof. George Earle Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1912), lot 2753.
F. Proof. A specimen exhibited by H.O. Granberg at the 1914 ANS Exhibition.
G. Proof. F.C.C. Boyd; World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1945), lot 146; J.H. South Collection (Stack's, 5/1951), lot 814.
H. Proof. New York collector Ralph J. Lathrop; Forty-Ninth Catalog (New Netherlands, 6/1957), lot 1375; possibly the same as number 5 above, as the description mentions "A few microscopic lint marks (as made)."
I. Proof. R.T. McPherson Collection (Stack's, 2/1953).
J. Proof. Charles Cass; Empire Collection (Stack's, 11/1957), lot 1738.
K. PR62 PCGS. U.S. World Coins, Medals & Banknotes (Butterfield, Johnson & Gillio,1/1996), lot 3705. Described with dull grayish-gold toning, but unfortunately, this piece was not illustrated.
Numerous die polish lines in the fields are faint but visible. The obverse has short die file lines down from the base of Liberty, just above the date. Others are visible at certain points along the border. The serif of the 1 is doubled below. Unfinished die work can be seen below Liberty's chin, much like the business strike die. The other die characteristics are mentioned by Bowers for the proofs. The reverse is well-made with few die defects.
The 1853 proof Seated dollars are all considered restrikes (technically novodels, as there are no associated original examples). The Coin Collectors Manual, an auction price list written by George F. Jones in 1860, lists the 1853 issue as "rather scarce--(no proofs)," indicating a later production date for the proof coins. The date of manufacture is pinpointed as the 1870s at USPatterns.com, which points out their first listings in silver and copper during that decade.
The reverse border has a diagonal die line over NI of UNITED, the only identifying characteristic.
Full silver mint brilliance is present on both sides of this piece with barely a wisp of champagne toning. The fields have a few faint hairlines with some insignificant slide marks on Liberty's knee. Extraordinary deep mirrors frame the mint frost that covers the devices on both sides. This impressive Premium Gem Cameo proof, with the added NGC Star designation for superior eye appeal, is sure to please the connoisseur, the only 1853 dollar certified as a Cameo by NGC and clearly the finest survivor known by a wide margin (6/13). As noted above, PCGS has graded one Cameo at the PR64 level.
From The Greensboro Collection, Part IV. (PCGS# 86996)
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