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    Description

    1896 Dollar, PR68 Ultra Cameo
    Profoundly Contrasted Proof

    1896 $1 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC. This exquisite Superb Gem displays ice-white motifs set against darkly mirrored fields, and easily merits its Ultra Cameo designation. A strong loupe locates a few hair-thin striations, relics of the die preparation, no post-strike contact marks can be found. The present piece can be identified by a tiny curly lintmark (as produced) on the reverse margin near 9 o'clock.

    Only 762 proofs were struck, a reduction of 118 pieces from that of the prior year's famous proof issue, the 1895 silver dollar. According to Q. David Bowers in his monolith Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States, two obverse dies were used to coin proof 1896 dollars, "both with date further left than usual, one with two small die file marks below ear, the other with heavy die polish in [the] ear and curls." On the present piece, there is no indication of heavy die polish within the ear, and a couple of delicate die polish lines are present below the ear. Therefore, this is the first obverse die referred to in the Bowers reference.

    Mintages of Morgan silver dollars declined after 1891, and bottomed out in 1895. It is surprising, then, that business strike emissions soared in 1896. The three mints struck close to 20 million pieces, with nearly 10 million coins produced in Philadelphia. It is true that the economy had improved in 1896. But since Treasury vaults contained more than 100 million silver dollars by 1896, certainly none were needed for circulation. One possibility for the heavy coinage of silver dollars was that they were needed to back the issue of 1896 silver certificates (Friedberg-224). 1896 was also an election year, and agitation by the free silver movement may have compelled increased government purchases of silver. Census: 17 in 68 Ultra Cameo (5 in 68 ), 2 finer (11/18).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 27ZT, PCGS# 97331)

    Weight: 26.73 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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