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1864 Silver Dollar, PR68
Borderline Cameo Proof

1864 $1 PR68 NGC. Only 470 proof Seated Liberty dollars were struck in 1864, and the present coin is one of the finest-certified survivors of that paltry mintage. The strained economic conditions of the Civil War explain the low demand for proof coins during the 1860s. Silver and gold coins did not circulate in this country after 1861 because of public hoarding. The government suspended specie payments and would only exchange precious metal issues for payment in kind. This meant that in addition to the usual fee the Mint charged for proof coins, collectors actually had to pay for the silver (or gold) coins with other silver (or gold) coins that could only be obtained from bullion brokers at steep premiums. Few collectors cared to incur the extra expense and difficulty involved in ordering proofs under those circumstances.

The silver dollars were all issued with the proof sets, which began to appear on the secondary market almost immediately. One set was offered in lot 330 of the Fifth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 10/1864), "1864 Splendid proof set, seven pieces." The lot realized $8 to William Lilliendahl. This set must have been issued early in the year, as the sets issued in July contained the new two cent piece, and would have had eight total pieces. The price realized was quite high for coins issued only a few months prior to the sale with a face value of just $1.94.

The coin offered here is a magnificent PR68 specimen with razor-sharp definition on all design elements and deeply mirrored fields that show no signs of contact. The virtually perfect surfaces are spectacularly toned in shades of slate-gray, sea-green, golden-brown, lavender, and cobalt-blue. Although this coin is not designated as a Cameo, the frosty obverse devices show distinct elements of contrast. Eye appeal is simply incredible. Advanced collectors should bid accordingly. Census: 3 in 68, 0 finer (3/13).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 252J, PCGS# 7007)

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Auction Dates
April, 2013
24th-28th Wednesday-Sunday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 705

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