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Interesting and Rare 1867 Rays Shield Nickel
PR66 Cameo, Dannreuther-1

1867 5C Rays PR66 Cameo NGC. Dannreuther-1. The 1867 Rays Shield nickels were apparently struck, then restruck at various times, according to extensive research conducted by John Dannreuther, published in the June 2007 PCGS Rare Coin Market Report and previously summarized in the 2006 Bowers Guide Book of Shield and Liberty Head Nickels.
According to the latter reference:

"The 1867 With Rays Proof ... is a classic rarity. Probably no more than several dozen are known; there are some prooflike Mint State coins that have been mistakenly called Proofs. The mintage is unknown. Students of the series have given many opinions, including the statement that no Proofs at all were struck until several years later. John Dannreuther, who has studied the die technicalities, has demonstrated that Proofs were struck on several runs. Per the same authority, an estimated 15 originals were made in 1867, plus perhaps three or more times that many were made on at least five later production sequences. Likely, dealers with close connections to the Mint -- John W. Haseltine being the prime example -- simply ordered more Proofs as needed for store stock. The depth and breadth of such restriking is just beginning to be appreciated, with new leading-edge scholarship by Dannreuther and others."

Among the characteristics for Dannreuther-1 are:
--the left serif of the 1 in the date over the right half of a dentil;
--7 in date recut;
--the lack of die polish within the vertical stripes at the bottom of the shield;
--a fully detached upper right olive leaf;
---and probably the most obvious of all, the frosted devices and deeply reflective fields, indicative of fresh dies.

The Bowers reference notes further down that "the earliest [die] state was used to strike With Rays Proofs on or before February 8, 1867, then Without Rays Proofs, and then more With Rays Proofs." This piece appears to be a later die state of the obverse as, despite the abundant cameo contrast, some of the leaves are assuming a "hollowed" look and a couple of the berries are detached, sans stems.
As noted, intense contrast is evident throughout, and the surfaces are mostly nickel-gray, with faint glints of rose on the obverse. We note an interesting planchet flaw or strike-through on the right part of the W in WE, and another die crack on the reverse, through the U in UNITED and the rays below, appears to connect to a small planchet lamination. A couple of other minor planchet blemishes appear on the reverse under a loupe, all Mint-made. There are no other obvious marks or contact on either side. An appealing and interesting coin (as well as a quite rare one) that should prove equally rewarding to the type collector or specialized researcher. Census: 2 in 66 Cameo, 2 in 66 Cameo, 0 finer (3/11).
From The Slotkin Family Trust Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 276H, PCGS# 83818)

View all of [The Slotkin Family Trust Collection ]

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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