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Tied For Finest Known 1860 Superb Gem Proof Dollar1860 $1 PR67 NGC. The Mint experienced considerable difficulty in the late 1850s and early 1860s as it tried to win over the general numismatic hobby to the idea of making annual purchases of proof coinage. For most years in this era, public demand for specimen coinage did not match the Mint's output with the result that many coins were melted as unsold. 1860 gives a vivid picture of this, particularly in the case of the Seated Dollar. The Philadelphia Mint prepared 1,000 sets of proof silver and minor coins this year, as well as a further 330 Silver Dollars in anticipation of increased demand for these large and impressive coins. Unfortunately, sales of both sets and singles fell far below expectations with all but 527 of the proof Seated Dollars being melted at year's end.
David Bowers (1993) estimates that somewhat more than 270 Proofs of 1860 are extant, of which Gem and better specimens account for ten or so pieces. A total of 30 PR65 and better coins have been certified by NGC and PCGS; assuming several of these are resubmissions, Bowers' figure of around ten pieces grading Gem and better may not be far off.
The Superb Gem offered in the present lot is one of the two finest proof Seated Dollars of this date extant. It is also an attractively toned specimen with rich multicolored toning in cobalt-blue, lavender, and apricot-orange colors. Pinpoint striking definition is seen throughout with a reflective finish evident at direct angles, and both sides are immaculately preserved. Overall, this is a coin that generates outstanding eye appeal, and is sure to elicit strong bids from advanced collectors of 19th century proof coinage.
From The Jack Lee Collection, III(#7003) (Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 252E, PCGS# 7003)
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