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    Description

    Unique Snow-PR3 1864 L on Ribbon 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 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.
    There are 18 pieces known between the three varieties, according to the Snow reference: seven PR1s, 10 PR2s, and just this one PR3. Snow's comments in that volume 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, arguably the single most important Indian cent known.
    Ex: Halpern and Warner Collections (Bowers and Merena, 3/1997), lot 232; "The Pennsylvania Estate"; The Alex Highland Collection (Heritage, 6/2002), lot 5202, which realized $138,000; The Palm Beach Collection (Heritage, 7/2004), lot 4375, which realized $118,450.(Registry values: N10218)

    Coin Index Numbers: (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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2008
    30th-3rd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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