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    Description

    Attractive 1904 Proof Set

    1904 6-Piece Proof Set NGC. The 1904 proof sets are the last to contain a Morgan dollar, which went on a 17-year hiatus until the business strikes of 1921. (Certain rare "Chapman" and "Zerbe" proof Morgan dollars exist, dated 1921, but were not part of proof sets.) As in 1903, the Morgan dollars have a glassy, chromelike quicksilver appearance, produced by a near-total lack of contrast from polishing the recesses of the die.
    A total of 1,817 minor proof sets were produced for 1904, along with 670 sets containing the silver dime through dollar. Breen comments concerning the Indian Head cent that "quite a few of these show flaming golden brilliance, the untarnished original color." His Proof Encyclopedia also mentions the Barber coinage as being the "lowest proof mintage of the design so far, but not really rare nor favored by speculators."
    In December 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote a letter, addressed to Treasury Secretary Leslie Mortier Shaw but aimed foursquare at Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber. In it he penned the famous remark about American coin designs being "artistically of atrocious hideousness." The Breen Proof Encyclopedia, marginally more charitable, places the proof sets of this era in its chapter titled, "Stereotypy Rules, 1890-1906."

    1904 Cent PR65 Red and Brown.
    Soft crimson and yellow-gold patina bathes both sides of this lovely Gem. A well executed strike leaves sharp definition on the design elements, save for the usual minor softness in the first couple of feather tips. A few tiny reverse flecks take nothing away from the coin's gorgeous eye appeal. Census: 34 in 65 Red and Brown, 4 finer (11/09).

    1904 Nickel PR64.
    Freckles of golden-tan patina dominate the luminous surfaces of this near-Gem, accented with occasional splashes of bluish-gray and lavender. A solid strike imparts sharp detail to the design features, including the hair above Liberty's ear and the corn ear left of the bow knot. A couple of trivial handling marks preclude Gem classification.

    1904 Dime PR64.
    Whispers of electric-blue, purple, and orange-gold, somewhat more extensive on the obverse, gather at the peripheries yielding to light champagne-gold in the central areas. A powerful strike results in full delineation on the design elements, rounding out the coin's exceptional eye appeal. Examination under a loupe reveals a few unobtrusive hairlines.

    1904 Quarter PR64.
    Mild frost on the devices results in a degree of contrast with the deeply mirrored fields. Essentially untoned surfaces exhibit sharply struck design motifs, including fullness on the arrow feathers and nearly complete detail on the upper right shield corner and eagle's right (facing) claw. A few very faint obverse hairlines mingle with die polish lines.

    1904 Half Dollar PR66.
    Breen (1977) writes of 1904 proof half dollars: "Most specimens have been cleaned to death." Not so the Premium Gem in this lot!. Its impeccably preserved surfaces are devoid of mentionable hairlines or other blemishes. The obverse is nearly color free while wisps of light reddish-brown make occasional visits to the reverse, joined by sky-blue in its lower right quadrant. Outstanding detail shows on the design features, save for the often seen minor softness on the upper right shield corner. Census: 34 in 66, 14 finer (11/09).

    1904 Dollar PR64.
    This 1904 Morgan has a closed 9, which Breen (1977) calls VAM-1. Blushes of russet gather at the borders of this near-Gem, joined on the obverse margin by splashes of sky-blue. The design elements are exquisitely brought up except for a touch of softness in the hair over Liberty's ear. Faint short vertical marks of unknown origin are visible on Liberty's cheek.
    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: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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