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    Description

    Well Matched Certified 1856 Proof Set

    An 1856 Proof Set certified by NGC and PCGS. Included are:

    1856 Half Cent 1/2 C PR64 Brown PCGS. B-3, R.4. The 1856 B-1 is, along with the 1852 B-2, the most readily available proof Half Cent. Of course, no issue that has an extant population of just 60 coins (per Breen, 1983) should be classified as "common." This is a richly and originally toned example with dominant golden-brown color and some olive tinged undertones. The definition is razor sharp in all areas, and the carefully preserved, virtually distraction-free features are fully deserving of the PR64 designation. An obverse lamination at the date, and another on the reverse along the upper border (both are as struck) establish a pedigree.

    1856 Large Cent 1C Slanted 5 PR64 Red and Brown PCGS. N-5, the only confirmed dies. With an extant population of perhaps 100 coins (per Breen, 1977), the 1856 is among the more easily obtainable proofs in the Large Cent series. The obverse exhibits dominant tangerine-orange luster over which some delicate olive-brown tinting has formed. The reverse displays a 50-50 mix of orange-red luster and medium brown patina. The rims do not appear to be the same width around both sides, a feature that suggests a slightly off center impression, but the major design elements are all boldly, if not sharply detailed. Some brightness is seen in the obverse field, and the surfaces are problem-free save for a few obverse spots, one of which is on the center of Liberty's neck.

    1856 Cent 1C PR63 NGC. Snow-9. Snow (2001) states that Snow-9 is a restrike from the 1858-1860 era. Perhaps 1,000-1,500 proofs were delivered during this period, most of which were of the Snow-9 die marriage, although some Snow-2 coins were also included. This aesthetically pleasing survivor displays rich honey-brown toning with some streaks of golden-brown color intermingled throughout. The crisply impressed features are free of bothersome contact marks, although accuracy compels us to mention two reverse distractions: a lamination (as produced) over the right ribbon and a spot near 9 o'clock on the rim.

    1856 Three Cent Silver 3CS PR63 PCGS. Whereas the business strike 1856 Three Cent Silver is among the more common issues of its type, its proof counterpart is scarce in all grades. Struck prior to the inauguration of the Philadelphia Mint's plans to market proofs to collectors on a larger scale, the 1856 has an undisclosed, although presumably limited original mintage. Writing in 1977, Walter Breen estimates that only 30-40 examples are extant, some of which are "drastically cleaned" or otherwise impaired. This fortunate survivor reveals pleasing reflectivity in the fields despite a little light golden tinged iridescence that is more evident on the reverse. The otherwise needle sharp strikes wanes ever so slightly toward the upper obverse and lower reverse borders, but this feature is mentioned solely for accuracy. Scattered hairlines confirm the PR63 designation.

    1856 Half Dime H10C PR64 PCGS. The diagnostics match the five separate characteristics of this issue as delineated by Walter Breen in his 1977 Encyclopedia of United States Proof Coins, and the surfaces also possess noteworthy reflective qualities in the fields. Both sides display a few wispy hairlines with swirls of pale iridescence here and there. With an extant population of perhaps 30-40 coins, the proof 1856 Half Dime is similar in rarity to the proof 1856 Three Cent Silver.

    1856 Dime 10C PR64 NGC. Obverse doubling that is most readily evident along the bottom of Liberty's skirt and a reverse die line from the top of the R in AMERICA to the border confirm the die marriage of this scarce proof. Rich lavender-charcoal patina envelops both sides with hints of cobalt-blue color at the rims. Despite the outward dominance of this toning scheme, modest, shimmering reflectivity is evident at direct angles. Fully impressed with no mentionable handling marks. The proof 1856 Seated Dime is equally as rare as its similarly dated Trime and Half Dime counterparts.

    1856 Quarter 25C PR62 NGC. The diagnostic reverse "bulge" is evident from the AM in AMERICA to the arrows as struck, and is probably the result of die damage or failure. Nevertheless, the devices are fully brought up with razor sharp definition in all areas. There is a light overlay of champagne-gray iridescence, and a few small swirls of haziness are noted on the obverse. Both sides retain pleasing reflectivity despite scattered grade-defining hairlines. We do not know exactly how many proof Seated Quarters were produced in 1856, but it is unlikely that more than 30 coins are extant in all grades. Two of the survivors are impounded in museums, and several others have been harshly cleaned.

    1856 Half Dollar 50C PR63 PCGS. Breen believed the Half Dollar to be the rarest denomination struck in 1856; indeed, we have seen very few examples over the years. The number struck is not known, but we estimate some 20-25 pieces exist in all grades. The reverse die used to strike this piece shows a curious area at the top of the leftmost vertical shield lines; originally this area was hollow (see Garrett: 344), but on later strikings it was filled in (rather amateurishly, we might add) with three vertical stripes. Each side is covered with deep, hazy gray toning that tends to subdue the mirrored fields when viewed from most angles. However, when the coin is tilted away from the viewer beneath a light the proof reflectivity flashes forcefully at the viewer. Lightly hairlined beneath the toning; however, the plastic encasement could stand to be replaced as there are numerous scratches on it. Population: 4 in 63, 7 finer (7/02).

    1856 Dollar $1 PR63 NGC. Struck from the same obverse and reverse dies as those used to produce the PR64 NGC specimen that realized $13,800 as lot 4084 in our April 2002 sale of the Morris Silverman Collection. Furthermore, the reverse die state is identical on both coins (rust lumps over the upper left corner of the D in DOL, the lower left corner of the L in DOL, and the rim below the L in DOL), a fact that suggests that this coin may, like the Silverman PR64 NGC example, be a restrike from circa 1858 (see our Silverman Collection descriptions in the Permanent Auction Archives on the Heritage website for a more detailed discussion of original and restrike proof Seated Dollars.) Both sides of this coin are pleasingly bright beneath light, mottled, golden-gray patina. The strike is full, and the number of scattered hairlines is consistent with the PR63 level of preservation. There are a few freckles of olive-tan color toward the lower borders, and a tiny, circular planchet void (as struck) in the reverse field before the first A in AMERICA is noted for pedigree purposes.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2002
    26th-28th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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