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    Description

    Seven-Piece 1909 Proof Set
    All Three Cent Varieties

    Seven-Piece 1909 Proof Set. With seven different types across six distinct designs and five denominations, 1909 was the high point of 20th century proof minor coinage diversity until the advent of the Statehood quarters in 1999. While the Liberty nickel and Barber dime, quarter, and half all enjoyed design stability in 1909, the cent went through three distinct phases, all captured in proof format: the Indian Head, the VDB Reverse Lincoln, and the Lincoln design with VDB removed.
    The final proof Indian cent issue enjoyed higher production than many of its peers, with collector acknowledgement of the design's upcoming end a likely influence. Its mintage of 2,175 pieces was the largest tally for a proof cent since 1900, and that figure follows three consecutive years with proof cent mintages well below the 2,000 mark. The 1909 Indian cent would be the last date for the denomination struck with a brilliant proof finish until 1936, since the beginning of the Lincoln cent brought a change in finish along with the change in design.
    Drawing from its experiences with the proof gold coinage of 1908, the Mint chose to issue Lincoln cent proofs with matte surfaces. Only a limited number of matte proof Lincoln cents were struck, however, before yet another design change occurred: the designer's initials were removed, separating the year's output into two subtypes, those with and without the VDB on the reverse. Among proofs of the VDB type, only a limited number were released, a figure traditionally given as 420 pieces but one that is perhaps a shade too low.
    Since the Liberty nickel was often sold along with the cent in two-coin sets, it benefited from the smaller denomination's design-change excitement, and 4,763 specimens were struck, a figure very close to the sum of the Indian and no-VDB Lincoln cent proof mintages. The silver proofs languished by comparison, with just 650 sets sold.

    Indian Cent PR64 Red NGC. Sharply struck with pale copper-peach surfaces that are practically unturned. The left obverse field shows a faint fingerprint.

    Lincoln VDB Cent PR63 Red and Brown ANACS. Sharply struck with the finely granular surfaces characteristic of this initial matte proof cent issue. Most of each side is copper-gold, though the faintly disturbed surfaces also show olive, mahogany, and violet accents. Housed in a small-format holder.

    Lincoln Cent (No VDB) PR65 Brown NGC. Deep chocolate and mahogany shadings prevail over much of each side, but rich orange-gold peripheral tints still remain. A sharp and satiny Gem matte proof with textured yet smooth surfaces, an elegant paradox.

    Nickel PR66 NGC. Light golden toning covers much of the profoundly mirrored fields of this crisp Premium Gem proof. Carefully preserved with glints of nickel-white present mostly on the devices and at the margins.

    Dime PR66 NGC. An unusual specimen that once must have had considerable contrast, though patchy gold-orange and blue patina covers most of each side. The portrait retains considerable frostiness.

    Quarter PR67 Cameo NGC. An outstanding Superb Gem with watery gold-graced mirrors that show specks of blue-green close to the rims. Moderately contrasted, though the frost is light, as is usual on Cameo representatives of the post-1902 Barber issues. Census: 10 in 67 Cameo, 1 finer (11/09).

    Half Dollar PR65 Cameo NGC. Aside from a whisper of gold-gray toning, the fields of this Gem proof are essentially brilliant, and the devices are snow-white. Pleasingly contrasted, though the brilliant hollow in the space below Liberty's ear reveals how thin the frost is on the devices. Nonetheless, an immensely appealing specimen.
    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: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,947

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