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    Attractive 1938 Proof Set

    1938 Five-Piece Proof Set NGC. The proof coins of 1938 had a higher mintage than their 1937 counterparts, with the difference most noticeable for the one and five cent denominations. The cent mintage was 14,734 coins, the five cent 19,365 specimens, the dime 8,728 pieces, the quarter dollar 8,045 examples, and the half dollar 8,152 coins. Thus, a maximum of 8,045 proof sets could have been issued; however, Walter Breen (1977) writes that probably fewer sets were actually assembled. He also indicates that they were "Much speculated in, like the 1937's."
    The 1938 proof coinage is significant because it included the new Jefferson nickel. An editorial comment in the June 1938 The Numismatist says: "The new Jefferson nickel has the distinction of being the first coin of the United States the designs for which were selected in an open competition." The obverse is much like creator Felix Schlag's original conception, but the reverse shows a front view of Monticello, a far cry from the sculptor's initial design.
    Breen lists two varieties of the Jefferson nickel: the first has normal letters and an irregularly-shaped star. According to Breen, it was greatly hoarded as the first year of issue. The second variety has extremely thin, wispy ERTY letters, and the star shows as a mere dot. Breen says this variety is "very scarce."

    1938 Cent PR65 Red. Bright yellow-orange color lends itself to excellent mirrors on this Gem proof, a boldly executed coin with praiseworthy surface quality. There are no hairlines or contact marks of any particular note, though a small flyspeck visible above the T in LIBERTY may have contributed to the grade.

    1938 Nickel PR66. Breen's first variety, which apparently shows less extensive die polishing than its scarcer counterpart. Both sides are boldly mirrored beneath light but rewarding patina, which appears as waves of pink and pale yellow. Curiously, the area on Jefferson's coat nearest the truncation of the bust shows a number of die scratches; it should be noted that these were a part of the coin from the moment of striking and have zero influence on the grade.

    1938 Dime PR67. The strike is absolute on this Superb Gem, which offers a chromelike gleam in its small but attractive mirrors. While the obverse is virtually brilliant, the reverse exhibits small splashes of sage and sea-green patina above and to the right of the fasces. An attractive coin and the highest-graded specimen in the set.

    1938 Quarter PR65. Pale gray patina is the rule in the fields, though the obverse also shows a touch of golden toning that is most visible in the area of Washington's neck. On the reverse, a tiny dot of deep crimson is visible at the rim to the right of the R in DOLLAR. A solidly struck Gem with noteworthy visual appeal.

    1938 Half PR66. Pale silver-gray toning over most of each side with light but distinct green and gold toning visible at parts of the margins. Additional crimson elements are present at the upper obverse, with the most readily visible dot of color present just to the right of the E in LIBERTY. Magnificent eye appeal aided by strong definition on Liberty's branch hand.
    From The Boca Collection, Part One.

    View all of [The Boca Collection, Part I ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2010
    6th-10th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,345

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