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    Desirable 1872 10-Piece Proof Set

    1872 10-Piece Proof Set NGC. Specie payments were still under suspension in 1872, and some young Americans had never seen or handled small change, being accustomed to the fractional paper currency. Although business strike mintages increased dramatically in nearly every denomination, the individual coins remain rare, especially in higher grades. In many cases, the proof coins ordered by collectors may be the only examples they ever encountered.
    As they have for over a century, proof coins often serve collectors who seek the date, dramatically increasing the demand for every denomination. Breen discussed the matter in his Proof Encyclopedia for the 1872 silver three cent piece: "only 1000 business strikes were minted and I have seen exactly two of them in the past 25 years, one in the Ruby collection, but the proofs turn up with reasonable frequency - sometimes impaired."
    Many proof coins of 1872 are somewhat lacking in overall quality, sometimes with poor strikes and sometimes with unattractive proof surfaces. That is especially true for the nickel alloy coins, where the composition presented its own set of challenges related to difficulty in striking.
    Unusual proof varieties include a doubled obverse Shield nickel, a blundered date dime, and a doubled reverse die Seated dollar.

    1872 Cent PR65 Red and Brown. Both sides exhibit sharp details including full feathers and diamonds on the obverse, and bold leaves and shield on the reverse. Little mirrored surface remains on this Gem proof, with reflective obverse and reverse fields surrounding lustrous devices. Light bluish-brown toning accompanies the pale orange surfaces of this lovely cent. NGC Census: 42 in PR65 Red and Brown; 8 finer (10/09). NGC has also certified 19 Gem or finer pieces with higher level designations.

    1872 Two Cent PR65 Red and Brown. A wonderful Gem, this elusive two cent piece has bold and complete design definition on both sides. Both sides have full reflectivity with mirrored fields and lustrous devices. A minor spot is evident on the obverse below the left end of the ribbon. The obverse has light blue and violet toning while the reverse is fully brilliant mint orange.

    1872 Three Cent Silver PR64. Remarkably well struck, this piece has crisp obverse and reverse details including a full star on the obverse. Deeply mirrored fields and lustrous devices create cameo contrast that is visible beneath the toning, although insufficient to receive the Cameo designation. Attractive light gold, magenta, and emerald-green toning is seen on the obverse, with the addition of cobalt-blue on the reverse.

    1872 Three Cent Nickel PR65. This pleasing three cent nickel lacks some central obverse definition with reverse weakness at the center of the first element and the top of the third element in the denomination. The fields and devices have satiny luster with mild reflectivity, although the fields are only slightly mirrored. Both sides are fully brilliant nickel-gray without toning.

    1872 Nickel PR66. FS-101. Doubled obverse die with most of the shield and leaf details showing clear doubling. NGC did not provide the attribution for this piece, although it is a variety the firm recognizes. Slight doubling is also visible on the motto, but no doubling is evident on the date. Both sides have bold and crisp details. Pristine and reflective surfaces are lightly mirrored. Traces of champagne and blue toning add to its eye appeal. NGC has certified exactly three attributed examples of the proof doubled die, along with 319 other proof submissions. NGC Census: 45 in PR66; 5 finer (10/09).

    1872 Half Dime PR65. The strike is excellent with full head details on the obverse and full wreath details on the reverse. The fields are fully mirrored with excellent contrast built around lustrous devices. The cameo appearance is clearly visible through the toning. The obverse has vivid gold, rose, mauve, and blue toning. The reverse has rich blue, emerald, and gold toning. NGC Census: 27 in PR65; 14 finer (10/09). NGC has also graded 20 pieces in PR65 Cameo or finer.

    1872 Dime PR65. The left branch of the wreath shows weakness, but all other intricate die details are fully visible. This deeply mirrored Gem proof has excellent contrast on both sides. The obverse is turquoise and pale blue, and the reverse is deep blue, purple, and pale green. NGC Census: 22 in PR65; 10 finer (10/09). NGC has also graded 16 pieces in PR65 Cameo or finer.

    1872 Quarter Dollar PR64. The obverse and reverse exhibit full, sharp design definition. The heavy toning on this piece tends to subdue the proof mirrors. A few faint hairlines and contract marks limit the grade. Pale blue and light green toning is evident on the obverse, with deep blue-green and gray-violet on the reverse.

    1872 Half Dollar PR64 Cameo. Each and every individual design element on both sides is sharp and complete. This remarkable half dollar has exceptional aesthetic desirability, with bold cameo contrast. The surfaces are outstanding for the numerical grade. The obverse has vivid emerald and gold toning, and the reverse has light gold at the center, with peripheral violet and bright blue. NGC Census: 3; 12 finer (10/09).

    1872 Silver Dollar PR64. All letters in the motto are sharply doubled. This strike is exceptional, with full head, gown, and star details on the obverse, and bold wreath and eagle details on the reverse. Fully mirrored fields frame the frosty devices of this lovely Choice proof Seated dollar. The toning tends to mask the contrast slightly, but it still should be given a Cameo designation. Pale magenta, olive-gold, and light blue toning on the obverse contrasts with deeper blue and green toning on the reverse.
    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: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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