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Proof 1864 Small Motto Two Cent Piece, A Classic Rarity Among U.S. Minor Coinage

1864 2C Small Motto PR65 Brown PCGS. Thanks to the efforts of those who have gone before us, we know that the Philadelphia Mint produced approximately 100 proof Two Cent pieces in July 1864. On the other hand, we are ignorant of the percentage breakdown between Large Motto and Small Motto coins in that delivery. Breen (1977) states that all 100+ Two Cent pieces issued with the 1864 proof sets could have been Large Motto examples, which means that a few proof Small Motto specimens were made at a later time and sold individually. The author also accepts the possibility that the Small Motto coins could have formed a limited percentage of the aforementioned 100-coin proof mintage. Regardless of which, if either, of these theories is correct, the rarity of the present example is unquestionable.
NGC and PCGS combined report only 17 examples with all three color designations (10/02), and we know that there is an additional specimen in the ANS collection. The present example is richly and originally toned in mahogany-brown shades that yield to streaks of pale tan color in the center of the obverse and near the upper right rim on the same side. Direct angles reveal a cornucopia of golden-blue, orange-red, and salmon-pink undertones that are a little more uniform in distribution on the reverse. Such angles also reveal glistening reflectivity in the fields, but razor sharp striking detail is evident even after the most cursory glance. With the exception of the unique toning qualities, there are no worthwhile pedigree markers. A coin that would form the centerpiece of any specialized collection of 19th century proof coinage.
Ex: Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/2001), lot 56, where it realized $31,050. The coin was plated on the first page of that catalog.
From the Trane Collection. (NGC ID# 274S, PCGS# 3624)

View all of [The Trane Collection Part II ]

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Auction Dates
May, 2003
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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