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    Description

    Tremendous 1873 Proof Set
    NGC Certified 14 Piece Set

    1873 14-Piece Proof Set NGC.
    Several events contributed to the numismatic importance of the year 1873. Early in the year, public criticism of the new 1873 coins led to slight adjustment of the date logotypes. The first coins of most denominations had unusually large knobs on the 3, making that digit look too similar to an 8. Many thought the coins were incorrectly dated 1878. New date logotypes were created for each denomination, with more space between the upper and lower knobs of the 3. That process created varieties that eventually became known as the Closed 3 (or Close 3) and Open 3 coins. Nearly all proof coins of all denominations are the Closed 3 coins, struck early in the year. Exceptions are the With Arrows coins and the Trade dollar that have the Open 3 date style.
    Congressional legislation called the "Crime of '73" by Western mine owners firmly tied the nation to the gold standard. It also eliminated the two cent piece, silver three cent piece, and the half dime, changing the makeup of proof sets for the rest of the century. The same legislation converted U.S. coinage weights to the metric system, slightly increasing the weight of the dime, quarter, and half dollar. To distinguish between 1873-dated coins of the old and new weight standards, Mint officials added small arrowheads to the left and right of the date on the new coins, much as they had done twenty years earlier. The date correction from the Closed 3 to Open 3 coins happened well enough before the new issue of With Arrows coins that the latter all have Open 3 date styles.
    The Seated Liberty dollar was discontinued in 1873, and in its place was the new Trade dollar, specifically designed to compete with other similar coins in Oriental commerce. All of these events led to an assortment of coins that could be studied for a lifetime. In fact, one collector, Harry X Boosel, did just that, eventually publishing a book on the coins of 1873.
    Mintage figures in 1873 include 600 of the No Arrows silver proofs, and 800 of the With Arrows coins. The number of minor proof coins, if any, in addition to those supplied with complete proof sets remains unknown. With all of the varieties included, a complete 1873 proof set consists of five minor coins, 10 silver coins, and seven gold coins. The present offering is a 14-piece set that includes all of the silver coins and four minor coins, lacking the 1873 Open 3 two cent piece.

    1873 Cent PR64 Red and Brown Cameo. S-PR1. The only die pair for proof 1873 Indian cents has heavily polished dies, with faint polishing lines visible in the fields. The base of the first feather and the eye socket are both polished into the field as described by Rick Snow in The Flying Eagle & Indian Cent Attribution Guide. The Close 3 is extremely tight with little space between the knobs and crossbar.
    Both sides have pale orange proof surfaces with hints of peripheral lilac. Trivial spots and streaks are of no concern on this lovely piece. Design elements are fully defined, and contrast nicely with the fields. NGC Census: 3 in PR64 Red and Brown Cameo; none finer (10/09). They have also certified two as Red Cameo, one PR64 and the other PR65. No Ultra Cameo examples have been certified.

    1873 Two Cent PR65 Red and Brown. Closed 3. Both dies are well made with no unusual characteristics. The 1873 issue of two cent coins is a proof-only issue, with no known circulation strikes. Varieties are known with a Closed 3 and an Open 3, the latter missing from the current set.
    This boldly detailed two cent piece has gorgeous Indian-red surfaces with hints of emerald and mauve toning on the obverse. The reverse has splashes of steel-blue toning, and the combination prevents a full Red color designation. The fields are moderately mirrored with modest cameo contrast. A few tiny spots and imperfections are evident, including a long, wavy lint mark through the first S in STATES. NGC Census: 55 in PR65 Red and Brown; 36 finer (10/09).

    1873 Three Cent Silver PR64. Well-made dies, the obverse with noticeable space between the top and bottom knobs of the 3, primarily due to a broken punch that lacks a crossbar on that digit. The top and bottom sections of the 3 join to form a short point.
    The obverse is primarily pale cinnamon with a delightful iridescent frame near the border. The reverse exhibits a lovely blend of salmon, magenta, and cobalt toning over light silver-gray surfaces. Both sides have deeply mirrored fields around lustrous devices, although insufficient for a Cameo designation. The obverse has a few tiny contact marks and faint hairlines that limit the grade, while the reverse is substantially finer.

    1873 Three Cent Nickel PR65. The 3 is similar to that described above for the three cent silver piece, lacking a definite crossbar. A sharply defined light nickel-gray proof with modestly mirrored fields and satiny devices. A faint splash of light yellow-orange toning appears on the reverse of this otherwise untoned example. Trivial spots and blemishes are consistent with the grade. NGC has certified 27 finer non-Cameo proofs and 20 finer Cameo proofs (10/09).

    1873 Nickel PR65. The 1 is repunched below and the 3 lacks a crossbar, much like both three cent pieces. The date logotype appears to be identical to the three cent nickel piece. The strike of this light gray proof is bold and well defined, with full detail throughout. Moderately mirrored fields surround the faintly contrasting devices, with delicate champagne toning on the dusky reverse. NGC has certified 51 finer examples (10/09), including non-Cameo and Cameo proofs.

    1873 Half Dime PR66 Cameo. Although this is a Closed 3 variety, as are all proof 1873 half dimes, a first glance gives the appearance of an Open 3 with widely spaced upper and lower knobs. Heavy diagonal polishing lines are especially visible on the obverse of this amazing Premium Gem. The fields are deeply mirrored and the devices are highly lustrous, the entire presentation brilliant and untoned with bright silver surfaces. NGC Census: 5 in PR66 Cameo; 4 finer (10/09). NGC has also certified one PR66 Ultra Cameo and one PR67 Ultra Cameo.

    1873 Dime No Arrows PR64. Fortin-101. The only currently identified proof variety for the 1873 No Arrows dimes, although Kamal Ahwash recorded a second (and currently unseen) obverse die for these proofs. This lovely dime has a bold strike and light silver surfaces with peripheral gold and iridescent toning on each side. Some irregular planchet imperfections are mostly visible on the obverse, consistent with the final grade determination. NGC Census: 45 in PR64; 37 finer (10/09).

    1873 Dime With Arrows PR64. Fortin-102. The only proof variety known for the 1873 With Arrows dimes, identified by tiny die defects of Liberty's left (facing) leg. This same obverse die was also used for some business strikes. Most of the obverse and reverse surfaces have yellow-brown toning with a frame of crimson and bright blue along parts of the borders. Light cameo contrast is evident, although insufficient to receive a Cameo designation. The strike is crisp and the eye appeal is excellent. NGC Census: 31 in PR64; 25 finer (10/09).

    1873 Quarter No Arrows PR63. Briggs 1-A. The only No Arrows proof variety recorded in the Briggs reference. Both 1873 quarters in this set are from the same reverse die, first used in 1872, and identified by a small raised die scratch across the left shield border. This sharply struck proof has fully mirrored fields and entirely untoned silver surfaces. A few blemishes, contact marks, and hairlines limit the grade.

    1873 Quarter With Arrows PR64 Cameo. Briggs 5-D. The only With Arrows proof variety recorded in the Briggs reference. This boldly defined and highly appealing quarter has natural "album toning" with light silver centers, surrounded by intense gold, magenta, and sky-blue toning on each side. The fields are fully and deeply mirrored, and the contrast is exceptional. NGC Census: 6 in PR64 Cameo; 4 finer (10/09).

    1873 Half Dollar No Arrows PR67 Star. Closed 3. There are no major die characteristics, so this half dollar has no Wiley-Bugert variety attribution. All minute reverse die markers are identical on the reverse of this half dollar and the reverse of the 1873 With Arrows half dollar in this set. An exceptional piece, this Superb Gem carries the NGC Star designation, and it is easily the star of the set. Only five 1873 No Arrows half dollars have received the coveted additional NGC designation for exceptional quality, the other four being Cameo proofs. This piece would probably have also received the Cameo designation, except the amazing toning prevents the contrast from being obvious. All design details are exceptionally sharp with the exception of the left end of the ribbon and motto. The centers on each side are pale mauve, giving way to electric-blue and lemon-yellow. NGC Census: 1 in PR67 Star; 0 finer (10/09).

    1873 Half Dollar With Arrows PR63. All 1873 With Arrows half dollars have an Open 3 in the date, as do all other With Arrows coins. This example is sharply struck with considerable contrast, although there is no designation assigned for that contrast. Faint hairlines and contact marks limit the grade. The centers exhibit delicate gold toning, with a frame of magenta and light blue on the obverse. The reverse is similar, with a thicker frame of greenish-blue toning. NGC Census: 29 in PR63; 64 finer (10/09).

    1873 Seated Silver Dollar PR63. All letters of IN GOD WE TRUST and the ribbon that carries the motto are doubled, more prominent to the left. This same reverse die was used earlier in 1871 and 1872, and also appears on some silver dollar patterns. A second reverse die was also used for the 1873 Seated silver dollar proofs, combined with a single obverse die. The relative scarcity of the two proof varieties is unknown. Both sides have the usual trivial blemishes that prevent a higher grade. However, the aesthetic presentation is exceptional with rich turquoise and reddish-gold toning blended together on both sides. Every aspect of the strike is crisp, with bold design definition.

    1873 Trade Dollar PR64. Proofs of this issue are popular as they represent the first year of issue for the Trade dollar. This proof is an early die state of the so-called "Patched Reverse" variety recorded in Dave Bowers' Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States. The common obverse die has a heavy, straight die scratch from the bottom left bale of cotton into the sea, traversing slightly up to the left. Much of the obverse is brilliant and untoned, with a frame of gold, magenta, and bright blue toning. The reverse has delicate yellow-brown toning at the center, with vibrant blue and violet toning near the border. A few minor contact marks, hairlines, and other minuscule blemishes keep this piece below the Gem category. NGC Census: 40 in PR64; 17 finer (10/09). In addition, NGC has certified four finer Cameo proofs.
    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: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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