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Rare and Intriguing Proof 1854 Dollar From a Previously Unrecorded Die Marriage, A Possible Restrike

1854 $1 PR63 PCGS. In his 1993 Silver Dollar encyclopedia, Bowers describes only one die marriage for this proof issue. The obverse die is easily identifiable by a triangular defect in the obverse field above and to the right of the 5 in the date. It is likely that this is the only obverse die that the Mint prepared for the proof 1854 Seated Dollar. The reverse that Bowers describes is characterized by numerous die file marks that slant down to the right in the shield. The present coin does not display these features. Rather, it was struck from the same reverse die that the Mint used to produce the restrike proof 1852 and the proof 1859 examples in the Silverman Collection (see the catalog description for the latter coin for more about this die and its diagnostic features). We cannot find evidence of die rust on any of these three coins, so it seems likely that all three were struck in 1859-60. This would make the present 1854 a restrike. It is still possible, however, that this reverse die was first prepared and used in 1854, which would mean that there are two reverse varieties of the original proof 1854 Seated Dollar. Confirmation or refutation of these theories awaits positive attribution of more proof Seated Dollars from this era.
Regardless of whether or not this coin was struck in 1854, it is a rare and desirable representative of an issue with an extant population of no more than 35 pieces. In addition, the business strike 1854 is a significant rarity in high grades, a fact that may lend further support to the theory that the Mint restruck proofs of this date for distribution to collectors. This coin is identifiable by a shallow planchet flaw (as produced) in the obverse field near Liberty's left (facing) shoulder. There is also a group of small contact marks in the obverse field before star 1. Both sides are toned in alternating copper-russet and blue-gray shades with some brighter undertones that are evident at a few angles. The obverse impression is full, but the reverse is a trifle soft over the eagle's neck, left (facing) wing, and left (facing) leg feathers. A significant discovery specimen for the Seated Dollar specialist. (NGC ID# 2528, PCGS# 6997)

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Auction Dates
April, 2002
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
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