Extremely Rare 1864-L Proof Indian Cent, A Unique Coin Struck From Die Pair 31864 1C L On Ribbon PR64 Red PCGS. The 1864-L in proof format is a legendary rarity among 19th century U.S. coins. Only 20 pieces were struck and today 16 examples are traced. This is only the second time Heritage has been honored to offer one of these rare proofs at public auction.
Curiously, three die pairings were used to strike the 16 known coins. This particular coin is struck from the newly discovered Die Pair 3. Six pieces are known from Die Pair 1, nine from Die Pair 2, and this single example is extant from Die Pair 3. This die pair is characterized by the digit 4 being repunched northwest, and the left edge of the 1 is positioned over the left half of a denticle. While similar to Die Pair 1, this die differs in the position of the date in relation to the denticles. And most importantly, this die pairing has not been observed on any business strikes.
In the write-up for this coin in the 1997 Halpern and Warner Sale, Bowers stated that Die Pair 2 coins are now considered restrikes. Both Die Pairs 1 and 3 are from the same reverse and are thought to be originals from 1864. Rick Snow made the following comment about this coin: "It is a superb specimen with more red than any specimen (from any die pair) yet seen by this numismatist." The surfaces are bright orange-red with deeply mirrored fields and light mint frost evident on the obverse devices. The only immediately recognizable surface flaw that can be used as a pedigree identifier is a small spot on the left side of the C in CENT on the reverse. The provenance of this coin is a bit cloudy, the 1997 Bowers catalog only identifying the consignor as "Pennsylvania Cabinet," the coin having been purchased "at an unknown time, many years ago." The coin realized an astonishing $63,250 in that sale five years ago.
Ex: Halpern and Warner Collections (Bowers and Merena, 3/97), lot 232.
From the Palm Beach Collection.(#2281) (Registry values: P10) (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.
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