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Very Rare 1867 Rays Nickel--Obverse 1, State I, Reverse A, State 1

1867 5C Rays PR64 NGC. Obverse 1, State I. Reverse A, State I. This is an original striking, believed struck on February 8, 1867. This is the third example we have sold of this rare original proof since November. The research on these pieces was done over many years by John Dannreuther and only recently published. And as one would expect from anything researched by J.D. it is air-tight. It is also rather dense reading, but if one follows his line of thought the light will click on after several pages. To briefly summarize, both With Rays and No Rays proofs from 1867 shared a common obverse. Restrikes of the With Rays coins were obviously made in later years (most likely under the supervision of Mint Director Henry Linderman).
The most obvious die characteristics of Obverse 1, State 1 coins are: 1) the left base of the 1 is over the right part of a denticle, the 7 is recut; 2) a long, curly die line runs from the 10th horizontal stripe down through the left side of the shield and ends in the circle; 3) there is a strong inner left bar to the W in WE; 4) the inner right berries are recut with a tiny polish line from the lower berry to the adjacent leaf. Other diagnostics are present also, but the ones listed above are by far the most obvious ones that distinguish Originals from Restrikes.
This is an exceptionally nice coin for the grade with excellent reflectivity in the fields (for a Shield nickel) and a light overlay of gray patina. There are no singularly distracting contact marks on either side, just a few light ones that are evident with magnification and a few minor flecks of carbon, which account for the grade. Prices for the two original strikings we have offered for sale at public auction have been uniformly strong, and we expect a similar result for this piece. The ANACS PR60 we sold in our November New York Sale brought a surprising $17,250, and the NGC PR66 Cameo in our January Long Beach Auction realized a record-shattering $132,250! Obviously, advanced collectors are willing to pay significant premiums for this rare die state--a coin that was provably struck in 1867. (#3818) (Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 276H, PCGS# 3818)

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Auction Dates
May, 2004
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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