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    Attractive 1940 Proof Set

    1940 Five-Piece Proof Set NGC. In 1940 the United States was on the brink of war, which had broken out in Europe in September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. The United States provided material support to the Allies, most notably to the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain, but would not itself declare war on an Axis nation until December 1941.
    In the years from 1936 to 1942, the Mint sold proof coins individually to collectors based on the number of orders, so recorded mintages for the various denominations differ. Proof coin totals for the cent and nickel decreased in 1939 compared to 1938, while the dime, quarter, and half showed modest increases. All denominations showed elevated productions from 1939 to 1940, although the Jefferson nickel remained in a swoon compared to the high-water mark set by its introductory issue in 1938, a record that would stand until 1942.
    The Lincoln cent saw a proof production of 15,872 coins, a supply still sufficient for today's demand; only ultra high-grade coins are conditionally elusive. The 1940 proof Jeffersons were struck with both the "wavy steps" Reverse of 1938 and the "straight steps" Reverse of 1940. The former is much more elusive, listed in the Cherrypickers' Guide as FS-901. Most of the silver proof coins show little to no contrast between the fields and devices. The 1940 silver proofs are generally attractive and well-defined, but Cameo proofs are rare.

    Cent PR64 Red. The obverse has a strong copper-orange color and mirrors, but also with a considerable degree of patina for a Red representative. The fields show a degree of haze, and the faint fingerprints visible mostly at the margins must have had an influence on the grade. The reverse has slightly greater variation in color, ranging from lemon-gold to pale violet-magenta.

    Nickel (Reverse of 1940) PR66. The sharp, straight steps leading up to Monticello indicate the more readily available Reverse of 1940 variety. At first glance, this Premium Gem proof shows only pale nickel-gray color, but on closer inspection, faint whispers of sky-blue and pastel-yellow also appear, most noticeably in the fields around the dome.

    Dime PR65. Light silver-gray toning has settled over much of each side, so that a break in the patina at the upper right reverse field actually appears to be a patch of darker color at first glance. Bold striking definition with attractively mirrored fields that the toning does little to dim.

    Quarter PR65. Faintly toned-over in much the same manner as the dime, but with a trifle more color; the obverse has a subtle olive cast to the gray toning, while the reverse shows a touch of yellow. Attractively preserved with excellent mirrors and commendable all-around eye appeal, a worthy Gem.

    Half PR66. The most important piece in the set is also the most overtly patinated, with a splash of bright yellow at the lower right obverse rim. That side has a faint bluish cast to the overall toning, while the reverse combines elements of olive-gold and gray. The well-preserved fields are strongly mirrored, and this specimen boasts a conspicuously bold strike on Liberty's branch hand.
    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: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,437

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