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    Captivating 1863 Silver-Minor Proof Set

    1863 7-Piece Proof Set NGC. Mintages for most U.S. proof coins continued to drop in 1863, a not unexpected occurrence for these Civil War-era issues. The production for each silver-minor proof denomination (cent, three cent silver, half dime, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar) declined from 550 pieces in 1862 to 460 coins in 1863. With the exception of slight increases in one and three dollar proof gold coinage, each of the remaining proof gold denominations (quarter eagle, half eagle, eagle, and double eagle) declined from 35 specimens in 1862 to 30 pieces in 1863.
    Mint records indicate that 1863 silver-minor proof sets were delivered on the following dates: 100 sets on March 5, 160 on March 8, and 200 on May 26. Walter Breen, in his 1977 Proof Encyclopedia, opines that most surviving sets appear to have been assembled.
    David Bowers, in his Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States, points out the implications to coin collectors in 1863 of the depreciation of legal tender "greenback" paper notes:

    "During this time the United States government would not accept its own paper money for the purchase of Proof coins and sets, and collectors were forced to pay in coin."


    1863 One Cent PR64.
    Breen (1977) suggests that the 1863 proof cent is somewhat more plentiful than the 1862. David Bowers' 1996 Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Cents, on the other hand, considers the 1863 is "to be much rarer than 1862 and to be a sleeper," a feeling shared by Richard Snow in his 2009 A Guide Book of Flying Eagle and Indian Cents.
    Luminous copper-gold surfaces of this near-Gem exhibit sharp definition on the design elements, including the feather tips, diamonds, shield lines, and leaf ribbing. A few minute flecks are scattered about, especially on the obverse, but these present little distraction.

    1863 Three Cent Silver PR67.
    Deep mirrored fields highlight the frosty obverse design features, yielding stunning Cameo contrast; field-motif variance on the reverse is less strong, precluding an overall Cameo designation. Despite this, dazzling eye appeal is apparent throughout this Superb Gem. Impeccably preserved surfaces exhibit razor-sharp detail and present peripheral electric-blue, lavender, and gold-orange patination on the obverse and a mixture of soft sky-blue and beige-gold coloration on the reverse. Census: 6 in 67, 1 finer (10/09).

    1863 Half Dime PR65.
    Both business strikes and proofs come only with repunched 18 of the date. Al Blythe, in his The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dimes, says: "There is no repunching on the restrike which was made about 1870."
    Vivid gunmetal-blue, purple, and golden-orange patination concentrates around the borders of this highly attractive Gem, and is slightly more extensive on the obverse. Sharply impressed design elements complement the wonderful toning and establish a good degree of contrast with the reflective fields. Close inspection with a loupe reveals the surfaces to be well cared for. Census: 20 in 65, 17 finer (10/09).

    1863 Dime PR65 Cameo.
    Dimes of this year have the lowest proof mintage of all With Legend dimes and are under date pressure owing to the small mintage of circulation strikes (14,000 pieces).
    Splashes of electric-blue, lavender, and golden-tan around the borders are more widespread on the reverse. A powerful strike leaves strong definition on the design features save for minor softness on the upper left reverse wreath. Strongly cameoed, virtually flawless surfaces greet the observer of this delightful Gem. Census: 10 in 65, 7 finer (10/09).

    1863 Quarter PR66 ★ Cameo.
    Proof quarters of 1863 come in three minor varieties. This variety shows the date high and slanting up, the shield point right of the right upright of the 1 in the date, and two reverse arrows joined.
    Peripheral electric-blue, lavender, and gold-orange patina takes on a more unbroken pattern on the left obverse margin. The Liberty motif is stone-white while the eagle is more grayish-white with whispers of gold-orange. The design features are crisply struck and appear to be suspended above the deep mirrored fields. Both sides are beautifully preserved. This specimen is the only 1863 proof quarter designated with NGC's coveted Star!

    1863 Half Dollar PR62.
    Luminous surfaces are enveloped in gorgeous toning consisting of medium intensity bluish-green and sky-blue around the borders that blend into subtle lavender and yellow-gold. The central motifs yield a silvery appearance splashed with whispers of lavender and orange-gold on Liberty and soft yellow-gold on the eagle. An exacting strike emboldens the design elements, including fullness on the rims and dentilation. Some unobtrusive hairlines in the fields prevent a higher grade. Nevertheless, both sides exhibit captivating eye appeal for the numerical designation.

    1863 Dollar PR64.
    Breen-5469. The date is slightly low and a bit right of center. The shield point is left of the tip of the 1 in the date, the left base of 1 is over a space between border denticles, and an unpolished area joins the upper and center leaves.
    Relatively deep bluish-purple toning bathes both sides of this near-Gem, each of which displays gold-beige accents. Excellent definition is noted on the design features, including Liberty's hair and gown lines, star centers, eagle's plumage, and dentilation. The fields still exhibit a degree of reflectivity despite the depth of the toning and yield modest contrast with the devices when the coin is tilted under a light source. Census: 40 in 64, 24 finer (10/09).
    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: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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