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    Description

    1895 Morgan Dollar, PR66 Cameo
    Magnificent Key-Date, Contrasted Proof
    Glittering 'Demand Rarity' of the Series

    1895 $1 PR66 Cameo NGC. The 1895 silver dollar, often referred to as the "King of the Morgan Dollars," is a numismatic enigma. Mint reports for 1895 indicate that 12,880 silver dollars were struck -- 12,000 coins for circulation and 880 proofs. Yet, no circulation strikes have been conclusively identified. The question continues to be asked, however: Were business strike dollars minted in 1895? And if so, what happened to them?

    Referring to the 12,000 circulation strikes, David Bowers, in his 1993 Silver Dollars reference, writes: "It is presumed that the entire mintage, if it ever existed ... went to the melting pot under the provisions of the Pittman Act of 1918." In his 2007 Guide Book, however, Bowers states: "In 1895, at the Philadelphia Mint, there was no coinage of silver dollars for circulation." And Michael Standish, in his 2014 Morgan Dollar book, contends that the 1895 was "an issue of which circulation strikes were most likely never made."

    In a September 2006 Coin Values article entitled "Philly 1895 Morgan Dollars: Where are They? Were they Really Struck?," Roger Burdette provides a more in-depth assessment of the perplexing 1895 dollar question. Among the mint records uncovered by Burdette was a report for 1895, by month, of the Quantity and Cost of Silver used in the Coinage of Silver Dollars. This document lists 290 dollars coined in March, 180 in May, 12,000 in June, 90 in September, and 320 in December, adding up to 12,880 pieces!

    Additionally, the 1896 Assay Commission Report (for 1895 coinage) lists six circulation-strike and four proof silver dollars. Two business strikes were melted for assay purposes. Burdette notes that the 1896 Assay Commission file is significant because "the commission's purpose was to verify that the previous year's coinage was within tolerance for weight and fineness. Thus commission members would have been acting outside the law if they examined any coins dated other than 1895." In sum, Burdette believes that the preponderance of evidence suggests that silver dollars dated 1895 were in fact struck for circulation.

    This still begs the question of what happened to these 12,000 circulation-strike 1895 dollars. Burdette suggests that the "most plausible explanation is that they were flattened then melted as part of 270,232,722 silver dollars ... converted to bullion," most of which was "sold to Great Britain under provisions of the Pittman Silver Purchase Act of 1918." As to the eight assay coins not melted, Burdette theorizes that some or all of them might have been purchased as souvenirs, as was apparently typical.

    Might occasional rumors of extant 1895 business-strike Morgan dollars include one or more of the four assay circulation-strike coins not melted? As Burdette opines, if one of these pieces surfaces one day, "it will be a major event for coin collectors and a bonanza for the lucky owner." Until that time (if it ever occurs), Morgan dollar collectors will have to settle for one of the "proof-only" specimens.

    This Premium Gem Cameo proof is struck from one of four known die marriages used for the 1895 proofs. It represents the Obverse 4 "Far Date" variant, with the left base of 1 in line with the left dentil edge below. Pale-gold rims surround brilliant-silver centers, with the motifs well-frosted and a pinpoint-sharp strike. Gleaming mirrored fields show essentially no imperfections.
    From The Superior Collection. (Registry values: N10218)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 27ZR, PCGS# 87330)

    Weight: 26.73 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    14th-19th Tuesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 18
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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