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PR66 Cameo 1867 Rays Nickel
1867 5C Rays PR66
Cameo NGC. Obverse 1, State I. John Dannreuther has made an
extensive study of the rare proof 1867 Rays nickel. His October 22,
2003 report on the issue described two different obverse dies. (A
third obverse die has since been discovered). Examples from Obverse
1 are considered original 1867 strikings, while Obverse 2 specimens
are restrikes, perhaps coined later in 1867 but most likely
produced after that transitional year. Both obverses share a common
reverse die, which allows us to know, due to die progression, the
obverse die order. The reverse die is distinguished by an
attenuated center ray beneath the second T in STATES.
Tied for Finest Certified
A Famous Proof Rarity
The present Premium Gem is classified as Obverse 1, Die State I, which makes it among the earliest 1867 Rays proofs coined. The 7 is repunched, with traces of the base and flag southwest of the prominent 7. Per Dannreuther, "recutting is no longer visible" on State Ia.
The traditional mintage of the proof 1867 Rays nickel is 25 pieces. Dannreuther believes that figure reflects the proof coinage on February 8, 1867. In recent years, the Guide Book has added a plus sign to the mintage, indicating that an unknown number of examples were restruck at a later time. According to Dannreuther, "If you have one struck with [Obverse 1] State I characteristics, you probably have a coin that was struck on February 8, 1867."
This is a lovely representative with light pastel apricot and ice-blue toning. The surfaces are virtually flawless, although for pedigree purposes we note a tiny fleck near the shield at 6:30. Minor misalignment of the dies leads to a sharp strike throughout except on the lower obverse and upper reverse margins.
This coin is tied with one other specimen as finest certified by NGC. The other NGC PR66 Cameo has rose toning and appeared as lot 2251 in our April 2008 Signature. Since PCGS has not certified any examples in grades better than PR66 Cameo, the present lot unquestionably ranks among the finest known, and would be the centerpiece of the finest quality Shield nickel collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 276H, PCGS# 83818)
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