1854 Seated Liberty Dollar, PR66
1854 $1 PR66 NGC. A Premium Gem proof with excellent
contrast (although not certified as a Cameo proof), this piece is
the finest certified by NGC, and ranks as one of the finest known
examples of the date.
Single Finest Certified Example
Ex: Eliasberg, Kaufman
The proof silver dollar mintage of 1854 is believed to be higher than the smaller silver coins. Numismatists generally acknowledge that complete silver proof sets were made available to collectors at the time, and that individual coins could also be requested from the Mint. The large silver dollars were certainly requested more often than the smaller coins. Estimates of the silver dollar mintage fall between 50 and 100 coins per Dave Bowers or 60 to 70 coins according to David Akers. Survival estimates are believed by most to be nearly half of the original mintage, or about 30 to 40 coins. It is difficult to be more specific without taking a detailed census of auction appearances, museums, and private collections. Such a census would be relatively easy for any date prior to 1854, difficult for 1854 to 1857, and nearly impossible for 1858 and later issues. Regardless of the number known, this specimen from the Eliasberg and Kaufman collections ranks as one of the finest known.
Diagnostic of all proof 1854 silver dollars is a remnant from a stray punch located just above the extreme right tip of the 5. This die defect, or "island" as Dave Bowers calls it, appears to be from the top of a misplaced 4. A short spine extends left from the dentil below the upright of the 4. Short die file lines are visible from the dentil tips left of the date. The area below Liberty's chin is unfinished. Fine die file lines, or lapping lines, are visible within most of the white spaces in the shield.
Deep mirrors on both sides surround frosty and lustrous devices creating an excellent cameo appearance, although it is not designated as such by NGC. Both sides have light gold color with splashes of peripheral blue and iridescent toning. The reverse fields and devices have random horizontal and vertical striations that were present in the planchet before this piece was struck, having no effect on the grade or quality. The source of these marks is disputed. They are called "planchet adjustment marks" by Dave Bowers or "roller striations" by Carl Carlson.
Adjustment marks are usually associated with the early coins struck at the first Mint, but it is known that the Mint employed adjusters into the early 20th century. Another explanation suggests that these are roller marks created when the planchet strip passed through the rollers to adjust its thickness. The marks on this coin have a random orientation and only appear on the reverse, suggesting that they are actual adjustment marks. Census: 1 in 66, 0 finer (7/13).
Ex: James B. Wilson (Thomas Elder, 10/1908), lot 135; J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. via Stack's in 1942; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 4/1997), lot 2222; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/1998), lot 7042; Phil Kaufman Collection of Early Proof Sets, Part One/ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1792, where it brought $54,625.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 2528, PCGS# 6997)
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