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    Memorable 1883 10-Piece Proof Set

    1883 10-Piece Proof Set NGC. This year is noteworthy for the three variants of nickels produced. The year began with the final issue of the Shield design with 5,419 proofs struck. Curiously, Shield nickel proofs were struck and delivered at the same time as the new No CENTS design by Charles Barber, and a slightly smaller number were produced with 5,219 proofs coined of this initial Liberty nickel type. Lacking a denomination proved a major design oversight for the newly introduced nickel, and an altered design with the word CENTS on the lower reverse rim was introduced later in the year. An even larger number of these were minted with 6,783 proofs believed struck. According to Breen (1977):

    "Apparently the earliest minor sets had only the shield nickels, and those of fall and winter had all three. In the A.M. Smith hoard, obtained by this veteran Mint publicist directly from the Mint, there were 34 minor sets, of which two had only the shield nickel, 6 only the shield and No CENTS, and the other 26 all three nickels."

    The most reliable figure for silver proof sets (10 coins, including the cent and nickels) is 1,039 sets. At least 52, possibly more, of these sets lacked the Trade dollar. Proofs from 1883 are important to the collector as so few circulation strikes were made, as in previous years. Again, Mint resources were diverted to striking mostly silver dollars that were required under the Bland-Allison Act.

    1883 Cent PR64 Red and Brown. The pink-orange of the obverse is only slightly muted, though the reverse has much deeper mahogany and pumpkin hues. Sharply impressed with only a few modest flaws in the fields that account for the grade.

    1883 Three Cent Nickel PR66. With a proof mintage greater than that of the corresponding business strike, the 1883 is best known as a proof type issue, but this gold-kissed Premium Gem specimen is easily appreciated on its own merits. Uncommonly strong mirrors for the series.

    1883 Shield Nickel PR66. Light peach toning over each side, slightly stronger on the obverse. Pleasingly luminous with mild field-to-device contrast. An excellent strike by the standards of the issue with eye appeal to match.

    1883 No Cents Liberty Nickel PR66. Pastel-yellow and cloud-white toning graces the fields, while the sharp devices show minimal patina. Distinctly contrasted, almost to a Cameo level, as shown by comparison with the next coin.

    1883 With Cents Liberty Nickel PR65 Cameo. A lovely Cameo coin with splashes of peach-gold over faintly nickel-blue surfaces. Strongly struck and appealing, this Gem shows only a few tiny flaws in the fields that preclude an even finer designation.

    1883 Dime PR66 ★ Cameo. Each side is beautifully contrasted beneath concentric blue, peach, and champagne toning. Exquisitely detailed with marvelous frost on the figure of Liberty, a flat-out gorgeous specimen. One of just four Cameo proofs for the year awarded the Star designation by NGC (10/09).

    1883 Quarter PR66 Cameo. Minimally toned centers give way to reddish-orange at the obverse periphery and a touch of gold on the reverse. Strongly contrasted with a small planchet flaw noted near star 13 on the obverse. NGC has graded just six numerically finer Cameo coins (10/09).

    1883 Half PR65. Though rich, faintly gold-gray toning drapes each side of this Gem proof, frost on the devices suggests this coin's original contrast. Boldly impressed with excellent eye appeal for the grade.

    1883 Trade Dollar PR66 Cameo. A whisper of champagne graces the rims of this Trade dollar, from the last proof-only issue made available to the wider collecting audience. Profoundly mirrored with a small planchet flaw visible in the field over the eagle's neck.

    1883 Morgan Dollar PR66 ★ Cameo. This boldly contrasted Premium Gem proof makes a fantastic capstone to the set. Profoundly mirrored fields show only a few tiny dots of milky toning, and Liberty's broad cheek has rich and unbroken frost. NGC has graded just six numerically finer Cameo specimens, none of which were awarded the Star designation (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: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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