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    Attractive 1865 Proof Set, PR63 to PR66

    1865 9-Piece Proof Set NGC. Production for most silver-minor proof sets increased slightly in 1865 from the previous year. The 2010 Guide Book gives a mintage of 500+ coins for each denomination.
    The three cent nickel was introduced to the line of United States coinage in 1865. Unlike the Guide Book mintage figure of 500+ coins for this new denomination, Walter Breen, in his Proof Encyclopedia, puts the mintage at 400+ pieces. His rationale for this is that the three cent nickel was authorized by an Act of Congress, March 3, 1865 and was therefore not included in the February 25 delivery of 100 proof sets. He notes that the denomination was included in the March 10, 16, 20, and 24 deliveries, each of which included 100 sets. Breen goes on to say of the three cent nickel that: "Extras presumably might have been struck to memorialize the new denomination."

    1865 Cent PR63 Brown.
    All 1865 proof cents come with a Plain 5 that has a simple slight curvature at the top. This is one of the more difficult dates in the early Indian Head proof cent series. In this regard, Richard Snow says in his Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents: "Its rarity is equal to that of the 1864 No L, but is typically priced lower because it is not a one-year type." Full Red examples are extremely difficult to locate, especially without spots or other problems. Indeed, David Bowers writes in A Buyer's and Enthusiast's Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Cents: "Most are toned brown or brown with traces of red."
    Considerable copper-gold luster shows beneath freckled sky-blue patination accented with light green. The design elements are well impressed, including most of the feather tips and all four diamonds. Close inspection reveals no mentionable contact marks, and both sides are remarkably devoid of carbon flecks. All in all, this is a truly appealing piece for the grade and color designation. Census: 6 in 63 Brown, 1 finer (10/09).

    1865 Two Cent Piece PR66 Red and Brown.
    Reflective fields accentuate the design elements when the coin is rotated ever so slightly beneath a light source, especially on the obverse. Whispers of blue-green and red, slightly more evident on the reverse, visit the golden-orange surfaces, and a decisive strike is manifested in virtually complete delineation on the devices. Both sides of this lovely two cent piece are nicely preserved, revealing no contacts or spots. Census: 9 in 66 Red and Brown, 2 finer (10/09).

    1865 Three Cent Silver PR65.
    Beautifully toned, with peripheral gunmetal-blue and purple that is more extensive on the obverse. This coloration transitions to gold-beige in the central areas. The design features are exquisitely struck, and the central devices appear to reach out from the mirrored fields to the observer. These attributes synergistically combine with the impeccably preserved surfaces to project breathtaking eye appeal. Census: 27 in 65, 25 finer (10/09).

    1865 Three Cent Nickel PR65.
    Breen's Proof Encyclopedia recognizes three varieties of the 1865 proof three cent nickel. The coin in the present set is B. 2-B, showing a double date that was first punched too far left, then effaced except for the upper left parts of 65 and corrected. This is the variety most often seen. Breen writes that the '65 three cent is "Popular because first year of issue and because actually rare."
    Whispers of nearly imperceptible powder-blue and gold-beige colors concentrate on the reflective fields of this Gem, leaving the frosty motifs in light gray. The design elements are generally well struck save for the often-seen weakness in the lines in the center of the first upright of the III denomination. A few tiny flecks are undisturbing. Census: 58 in 63, 15 finer (10/09).

    1865 Half Dime PR64 Cameo.
    The upper right part of the base of the 1 in the date is doubled, the skirt pendant is about over the knob in the 6, double outlines show to the right sides of HA and DI in HALF DIME, and both ribbon ends are clear of the wreath.
    Splashes of electric-blue, gold-orange, and reddish-purple make occasional visits to the border, leaving the obverse center color free and a touch of gold in the reverse central area. Both sides display pleasing field-motif contrast regardless of the angle of observation, and high magnification brings out a few faint hairlines interspersed with die polish lines in the fields. Great overall eye appeal.

    1865 Dime PR64.
    The silver-white portrait of Liberty cedes to soft orange patina in the adjacent fields before taking on purple and gunmetal-blue at the borders. The same color scheme occurs on the reverse except that the orange toning covers the center. A powerful strike lends bold detail to the design motifs, including the reverse wreath elements that often reveal localized weakness. This well preserved near-Gem possesses definite Cameo characteristics. Census: 37 in 64, 26 finer (10/09).

    1865 Quarter PR65 Cameo.
    The toning on this Gem is simply astounding, consisting of a delicate blend of blue-green, electric-blue, lavender, and orange, which all assume somewhat deeper shades on the reverse. Strong field-design variance confirms the Cameo designation. Both sides exhibit razor-sharp devices, complemented with broad square rims and full dentilation. A couple of unobtrusive ticks subtract absolutely nothing from the coin's outstanding eye appeal.

    1865 Half Dollar PR63.
    Speckled russet, purple, and electric-blue gravitate to the margins of this Select proof, ceding to a veneer of soft golden-tan in the obverse center and grayish-tan in the reverse center. An exacting strike imparts crisp definition to the moderately frosted design features that stand out against the mirrored fields, especially on the obverse. Some inoffensive handling marks in the fields are visible with high magnification.

    1865 Dollar PR64.
    Blushes of sky-blue, yellow-gold, lilac, rose, and burnt-orange patina adhere to the obverse fields, transitioning to soft golden-gray on the Liberty motif. Medium intensity gold-orange dominates the reverse, accented with splashes of bluish-purple, lilac, and sky-blue. A solid strike brings out complete definition on the design elements. Striae are evident in the fields under a loupe, particularly on the reverse. A few light hairlines in the fields are undistracting.
    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: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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