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    Charming 1862 Silver-Minor Proof Set

    1862 7-Piece Proof Set NGC. After somewhat lackluster performance in sales for the past four years, Mint officials decided to scale back the annual output of proof coinage. The silver-minor coins were reduced from 1,000 to 550 pieces. Proof gold mintage dropped to 35 coins for all denominations in 1862, a number more commensurate with demand than with speculation. Mintages for most silver-minor pieces continued to hover in the 400 to 600 range until 1870 when they sharply increased. Proof gold mintage remained in the area of 20 to 50 pieces for the next twenty years when they again jumped from increased demand.
    The year 1862 resulted in changes other than reduced proof-coin mintage. In a December 3, 2008 Numismatic News article, Robert Julian writes:

    "At the beginning of 1862, Mint Director James Pollock changed the rules by requiring that full sets of coins be purchased; those specializing in proof quarter eagles, for example, now had to purchase the full gold proof set. Cent pieces could not be obtained separately, being included in the 'silver' proof set."


    The lower mintages of proof coins in 1862 were apparently much more in line with demand than in the previous four years. According to Walter Breen writing in his Proof Encyclopedia, 430 of the 550 silver-minor proof sets were sold, with the rest melted. He also says: "Other individual coins may have been sold. Most of the sets now extant were assembled in recent decades. This could be done very cheaply during the 1940s and early 1950s."

    1862 One Cent PR65.
    The 1862 is perhaps the most common date in the Indian Head copper-nickel proof series. Richard Snow (2009) suggests that unsold examples were saved by the mint and resold to collectors at some later date, possibly after the Civil War. Certified population figures show that most survivors are around the near-Gem level of preservation.
    Copper-gold surfaces on the current Gem are imbued with occasional whispers of light tan and a decisive strike leaves crisp definition on the design elements, including the feather tips, the four diamonds, and the leaf ribbing. Close examination reveals no noteworthy blemishes. Census: 28 in 65, 6 finer (11/09).

    1862 Three Cent Silver PR64.
    Beautiful toning jumps out at the observer of this near-Gem. The obverse reveals variegated low to medium intensity cobalt-blue, lavender, gold-orange, and bluish-purple coloration, while the reverse displays soft hues of yellow-green, violet, lime-green, gold-orange, and sky-blue. An exacting strike further enhances the coin's eye appeal, particularly on the obverse star and its outlines, arrow feathers, and leaf sprigs. Only the round elements in the upper left of the reverse C are weak. A few trivial reverse handling marks may help to preclude Gem designation.

    1862 Half Dime PR63.
    Breen (1977) writes of the 1862 proof half dime "... at least four die varieties." The coin in the present set appears to be V-3, the diagnostics of which are: the shield point well to the left of the 1 in the date, the skirt pendant minutely right of center above 6, upper part of second S in STATES slightly filled in, and the right end of the ribbon clear of the wreath.
    A melange of aqua-green, gold-orange, sky-blue, light green, and lavender drapes both sides of this Select example, each of which exhibits sharply struck design elements. A few minuscule marks limit the grade.

    1862 Dime PR64.
    Breen (1977) implies there are two varieties of 1862 proof dimes, a "light" date and a "heavy" date. He gives few diagnostics except to say for the heavy date: "Shield point far to left of 1, pendant over inner left curve of 6." The current dime appears to match the latter variety.
    Orange, yellow-gold, violet, and lime-green patination visits the obverse surfaces of this near-Gem, ceding to bluish-green at the reverse margin and orange-gold in the center. Sharply struck and devoid of mentionable marks. Census: 42 in 65, 16 finer (11/09).

    1862 Quarter PR64 Cameo.
    Peripheral gunmetal-blue and lavender frame the champagne centers of this near-Gem, joined by golden-orange on the reverse border. Mirrored fields highlight the mildly frosted design elements which have benefited from a solid strike. A few wispy field marks preclude Gem status. Census: 38 in 65, 20 finer (11/09).

    1862 Half Dollar PR65 Cameo.
    Breen (1977) lists two 1862 proof half dollar varieties, per Beistle. The specimen in this set shows a spine from the upper left serif of F, classifying it as Beistle 1-A. Breen considers this to be the rarer variety.
    Electric-blue, purple, and golden-orange gravitate to the margins of this Gem, framing soft champagne-gold and silver in the centers. Exquisitely struck design motifs stand amidst the mirrored fields. Well preserved throughout. Census: 24 in 65, 10 finer (11/09).

    1862 Dollar PR64.
    David Bowers writes in his 1993 Silver Dollars reference: "Proof dollars of 1862 are especially desired today due to the enticingly low business strike mintage of just 11,540 coins."
    Splashes of cobalt-blue and lavender grace the margins of this near-Gem, transitioning to dapples of golden-brown residing in the centers. The design elements exhibit superb detail. Faint hairlines that only appear under high magnification prevent the attainment of full Gem classification.
    From The Boca Collection, Part One.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Boca Collection, Part I ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2010
    6th-10th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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