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    Description

    Seven-Piece 1887 Proof Set Including
    1887/6 Three Cent Nickel

    Seven-Piece 1887 Proof Set NGC. The 1887 proof set is a seven-coin grouping that is in many ways a microcosm of the coinage activities in the United States as a whole during the year. It is one of the more popular and interesting of the decade, containing one of two three cent nickel varieties (1887/6 overdate or the non-overdate) along with the popular Seated Liberty quarter and half dollar, both of which have low-mintage business-strike counterparts.
    This was another year in which the Philadelphia Mint was churning out unwanted millions of Morgan silver dollars, to the detriment of most other coinage denominations. Accordingly, the business strike Seated Liberty quarter and half dollar have minuscule mintages of 10,000 and 5,000, respectively. While the business strikes of both denominations can be found in high grades, their scarcity does exert moderate upward pressure on proofs of the year. The proof silver coins, dime through silver dollar, each were issued to the extent of 710 pieces. The minor coinage sets, Indian cent, three cent nickel, and Liberty five cent nickel, saw production of 2,960 coins apiece.
    As mentioned, the 1887/6 three cent nickel is an overdate produced only in proof format and comprising a majority of proofs, with the non-overdate 1887 proof correspondingly rarer. Breen comments:

    "The earliest die state of this popular proof-only overdate is quite rare, showing plain impressions of both 8's and almost the entire 6 in addition to the final 887, respectively at bases of 8's and within them, occupying almost the entire space below arm of 7. I have seen very few of these. Dies clashed and were drastically repolished. The vast majority, struck after repolishing, show only part of left curve of 6 below arm of 7, sometimes only a small fragment, sometimes also with part of loop of 6, but always weak in this state. Probably 3/4, possibly as many as 4/5 of the extant proof 1887 3¢ nickels are from this obverse die, in its later states."


    Interestingly, the Philadelphia and New Orleans Morgan dollars also have popular 1887/6 varieties, but conversely to the three cent nickel, the overdates are unknown as proof strikings. While the business-strike 1887-Ps had a bank-bag-busting production of 19.9 million pieces, the proofs had a mere 710 coins struck. Most show little to no contrast, but offer a strong strike.

    Cent PR64 Brown. Dusky mahogany surfaces show glimpses of rose and pumpkin-orange. A luminous and pleasing Choice proof that shows a handful of faint but grade-defining hairlines.

    Overdated Three Cent Nickel PR65.
    Prominently overdated with a bold "wedge" from the 6 visible in the space not taken up by the 7. Impressively mirrored with areas of canary-yellow over otherwise nickel-white surfaces.

    Five Cent Nickel PR66.
    A well struck and attractive Premium Gem proof. The centers are minimally toned, while the margins show slight patina in the gold-to-orange spectrum, most visible and deepest along the rim to the left of the date.

    Dime PR66
    Cameo. A star of this set, boldly contrasted with wonderful eye appeal. The mirrors are stunning, as is the frostiness of the devices. The peripheral toning, blue and gold-orange on the obverse with champagne echoes on the reverse, enhances the cameo effect and the visual appeal.

    Quarter PR64.
    Strongly contrasted on the obverse, though the blue and violet patina that covers most of the obverse fields also appears across virtually the entire reverse, including the devices. Small hairlines are hidden under the toning.

    Half Dollar PR64 Cameo.
    Antique-gold and blue peripheral shadings frame minimally toned centers that present delightful contrast. Strongly sculpted, thickly frosted devices stand out from the impressively reflective fields.

    Morgan Dollar PR65.
    While the frost on the devices is not heavy, this coin has immediately apparent contrast, making the lack of a Cameo designation something of a mystery. Rich orange-gold patina gives way to silver-white at the centers, after passing through an intermediate band of champagne on the reverse.
    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: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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