1864 Indian Cent, PR64 Red
1864 1C L On Ribbon PR64 Red PCGS. Snow-PR3. The proof 1864
With L Indian cent is a legendary rarity, one that has been
well-known and well-respected since shortly after its production.
Rick Snow's The Flying Eagle and Indian Cent Attribution
Guide notes that by 1869, the coin was sufficiently in demand
to prompt someone at the Mint to produce restrikes, likely William
DuBois, the Mint assayer who also served as curator of the Mint
Collection. An added 10 (or possibly more) specimens were struck,
using a refurbished obverse die and a regular proof reverse from
1868-1871. Snow designates these restrike pieces as PR2, of which
10 are known today. The obverse of the PR1 variety is remarkably
similar to the PR3, except that on the PR1 pairing, the left edge
of the 1 is between the denticles, while on the PR3 the left edge
is over the left side of a denticle. The reverse of the PR3
marriage uses a reverse from the 1864 No L PR2 variety, with minute
die lines in the peripheral field area at 1 o'clock.
Famous L on Ribbon Variant
There are 20 pieces known between the three varieties: seven PR1s, 10 PR2s, and just this one PR3. Snow's comments regarding this coin were as follows:
"In 1997, a previously unknown example turned up in an old collection called 'The Pennsylvania Estate' which was to be auctioned by Bowers & Merena. This coin did not match the diagnostics for either known die pair. I was asked to confirm its proof status, and was astounded to find it to be a third pair! This new pairing, die pair 3, had the same reverse as the original known die pair, which was also used for some of the 1864 No L proofs, so this new coin was determined to be an original."
Several years later, it is still the only specimen known from this die marriage. Under high magnification, repunching clearly shows on the 4 in the date. The bottom left serif, vertical crossbar, and the front vertex of a 4 are all quite visible northwest of the second, final punching. Similar repunching is noted on the 8 and 6. As a further aid to authentication should any future pieces be discovered, the centers of the loops of the 8, both top and bottom, show a series of near-vertical raised die lines. On the reverse, a tiny apparent die crack runs from the inside right vertex of the N in ONE onto the cross-stroke of that letter.
The obverse is only slightly mellowed brick-red, while the reverse offers light tan hues, and both sides show good contrast between the fields and devices. A few tiny flecks are unworthy of singular mention and visible only under a glass. The only obvious pedigree marker for this coin is a dark spot that is attached to and just to the left of the C in CENT. The strike is expectedly bold and unassailable. For the Indian cent specialist, the rarity of the proof 1864 With L need not be stressed, and the unique die pairing only confirms the illustrious nature of this coin. Listed on page 115 of the 2014 Guide Book.
Ex: Pennsylvania Estate; Halpern & Warner Collections (Bowers and Merena, 3/1997), lot 232; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 6/2002), lot 5202; West Palm Beach Signature (Heritage, 6/2008), lot 211; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 4375; Baltimore Signature (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 1544; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2009), lot 2100.
From The New York Collection of 1864-L Indian Cents.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 229G, PCGS# 2281)
Weight: 3.11 grams
Metal: 95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
View all of [The New York Collection of 1864-L Indian Cents ]
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