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Superb Proof 1859 Seated Dollar, A Coin of Unsurpassable Eye Appeal and Technical Quality

1859 $1 PR67 NGC. Ex: P. Kaufman. This coin was struck from the same die marriage as the PR65 NGC specimen that sold as lot 4087 in our April 2002 sale of the Morris Silverman Collection of Silver Dollars. The obverse die is easily identifiable by repunching on the base of the 1 in the date; this is the only known obverse for this proof issue. There are at least two reverse dies, and the one used to strike the present example is attributable by remnants of an inner circle at the denticles above the UNI in UNITED.
The second year in which the Mint made a concerted effort to market proofs to the collecting public, 1859 witnessed the production of a respectable total of 800 Seated Dollars. Based on the number of coins extant, it is unlikely that more than 450 examples were actually sold by year's end. The balance of the mintage went to the melting pot. While there are enough lower grade survivors to satisfy less discerning collectors, the specialist who has one eye on aesthetic appeal and the other on technical quality will soon find that the proof 1859 was not a carefully preserved issue. Most survivors (and, indeed, the majority of specimens that pass through the hands of catalogers at Heritage) display some measure of bothersome hairlining. It is truly a significant sale where we can offer a coin at the PR65 or PR66 level, but the appearance of a Superb Gem in one of our auctions is definitely an event that comes around once in a numismatic lifetime.
We have neither seen nor heard of a proof 1859 Seated Dollar that is as beautiful as the present specimen, and we doubt whether one exists. The obverse is awash in rich charcoal toning that passes through pink-lilac and honey-gold iridescence as one's eye moves toward the center. Direct angles reveal not only golden-blue undertones near the rims, but also uniform reflectivity throughout. The dominant charcoal and antique-copper reverse colors yield to electric-blue peripheral highlights as the coin turns into the light. There is not a single grade-limiting hairline or contact mark, and the strike is full over all elements of the design. A well concealed planchet streak (as struck) on the reverse over the lower half of the E in ONE should help trace the pedigree of this important and simply beautiful proof Seated Dollar. Population: 2 in 67, there are, not surprisingly, none finer (7/02).
From the Philip Kaufman Collection. (NGC ID# 252D, PCGS# 7002)

View all of [The Philip Kaufman Collection, Part 1 ]

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Auction Dates
September, 2002
26th-28th Thursday-Saturday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 549

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