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1863 $1 PR65 PCGS. It is interesting to speculate how ...

2002 November Santa Clara Signature Sale #304

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Auction Ended On: Nov 22, 2002
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Santa Clara, CA
Beautiful, Original, and Rare Gem Proof 1863 Seated Liberty Dollar
1863 $1 PR65 PCGS. It is interesting to speculate how this coin, a Silver Dollar produced during the Civil War, could have survived at all, let alone with such smooth surfaces. After all, only 460 proof Seated Dollars were coined in 1863, and the widespread exportation and melting of the era could very well have claimed some of these specimens in addition to the business strikes. On the other hand, some authors, most notably Q. David Bowers, suggest that the suspension of specie payments in July 1862 could have had a positive effect on proof Seated Dollar survival rates. Since silver coins were rarely seen in circulation in the North, people would have been more apt to preserve the proofs that they obtained from the Philadelphia Mint. In addition, Bowers notes that the numismatic hobby was gaining more and more popularity in some of the larger Northern cities, with the positive result that there were more collectors to preserve proof strikings.
If Bowers' latter theory is correct, then the present Gem must have found its way into the hands of a particularly fastidious collector. The vast majority of proof 1863 Seated Dollars that pass through our hands grade no finer than PR64, indicating that most survivors were not particularly well cared for over the last 139 years. Indeed, this is only the second PR65 specimen that we have offered at major auction this century, and it is also noteworthy as a wonderfully original representative of a date that is seldom seen in Mint State. The obverse is toned in mottled olive-gray colors that yield to near-brilliance in a few areas in the center and toward the upper left rim. The reverse is more evenly patinated in olive-charcoal shades, although we do note a swirl of lavender-gray color over the lower eagle. Scintillating golden-orange and electric-blue undertones are seen at direct angles, and the sharply brought up devices are readily evident. The only worthwhile pedigree marker (and one will really have to look in order to find it) is a wispy abrasion in the obverse field after the date. Population: 3 in 65, with only four finer (9/02). (NGC ID# 252H, PCGS# 7006)

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