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    Six-Piece 1901 Proof Set
    First Proof Set of the 20th Century

    Six-Piece 1901 Proof Set NGC. The non-gold proof sets of the early 1900s are more notable for their lack of variety than for any other outstanding characteristics. Each set contains the cent through silver dollar (half dollar after 1904 when Morgan dollars took a 17-year hiatus), with no missing issues or lack of business strike counterparts á la the 1895 Morgan dollar. This is not to say that no changes occurred; for example, 1901 did see a minor obverse hub redesign for the Barber dime, quarter, and half dollar, and 1902 saw lessened cameo contrast on most proof coins. But overall, the early years of the decade are those of uniformity, if not downright monotony.
    The new obverse hub for the Barber dime design of 1901 shows longer leaves and the N in UNITED "notably farther from the ribbon" (Breen Proof Encyclopedia). The quarter and half dollar also have longer leaves and larger berries, with "more details in the ear and part of the hair." Breen calls all three redesigns "type coins," a point that many collectors would find debatable. Breen records 1,985 minor proof sets produced (Indian cent and Liberty nickel), along with 813 of the silver sets, containing the three Barber coins plus the silver dollar.
    The 1901 Morgan dollar proof deserves special mention, as the 1901-dated business strikes in high Mint State grades are among the rarest of the entire series. This phenomenon exerts considerable upward pressure on the 1901 proofs.

    Cent PR65 Red and Brown. The bright copper-gold of the broad centers is tempered only slightly at the margins, where glimpses of mahogany and magenta-violet appear. A sharp and gorgeous Gem that is decidedly more Red than Brown.

    Nickel PR66. This delightful Premium Gem has delicate, exquisite patina over gleaming mirrored surfaces. Pale lavender-blue centers give way to yellow-green at the margins, with the latter color intermittent on the obverse but continuous on the reverse. Strongly appealing.

    Dime PR64 Cameo. The 1901 silver proofs are among the last in the Barber series to be found routinely with Cameo-level contrast. This dime has a light golden cast overall with deeper orange color at the date area on the obverse. The icy portrait of Liberty emerges from liquid mirrors.

    Quarter PR66. Through the rich patina, this quarter offers suggestions of past contrast. In parts of the fields, reflectivity pierces the veil of gold-orange, violet, and blue toning. A carefully preserved and immensely appealing specimen.

    Half Dollar PR66 Cameo. The most starkly contrasted specimen in the set, this piece is profoundly mirrored with richly frosted devices and subtle toning. Hints of champagne and khaki color visit the rims, while the fields show subtle whispers of cloud-gray.

    Morgan Dollar PR65 Cameo. As noted above, the rarity of high-grade business strike 1901 Morgan dollars puts added pressure on proofs, but this Cameo Gem is just as easily appreciated on its own terms. Glimpses of golden peripheral toning give way to near-brilliant mirrors, and the devices, while lightly frosted, offer more than enough contrast for the Cameo designation.
    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: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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