1831 PR 63 (In Our Opinion) Red and Brown. N-3, R.1. EAC graded MS 62. This lot will undoubtedly prove to be the most controversial in the entire auction. Experts cannot agree on the status of this piece, and rather than the cataloger inserting his opinion also, we will simply list the facts as we know them and let the reader draw their own conclusions.
    This coin was uncovered in a European collection by Marc Emory. It resided in a date run of proof Large cents and was the representative piece for 1831. It was consigned to the auction along with the preceding 1831 N-7 1/2 cent. When shown to various numismatists in our Dallas office, many did not consider the coin a proof. However, Marc Emory and Jim Halperin did. At a major coin show in the fall, the piece was shown to a noted early copper and Colonial expert, Anthony Terranova, whose name and reputation are widely recognized and respected. He immediately proclaimed the coin a proof.
    Most of the copper in this sale was sent to Del Bland, a name well known to early copper specialists. Del attributes all the coins sent him and he also includes a brief write-up on each piece. His write-up on this coin is, "Brown and mint red with a moderate sized spot touching the inside point of star 13 and a few other small spots scattered around the obverse. Proper brushing probably would reveal a proof-like surface and greatly enhance the appeal of this cent." No mention of the coin being a proof.
    The Breen proof book (1977) lists 12 proofs from 1831 with "others reported." All are from the N-3 dies, as is this coin. His book has a photograph of the French-Clarke specimen. It is incompletely struck on the peripheral stars, as is this piece, but the fields are bright and reflective. The obverse of this coin is mostly brown with slight portions of mint red still in evidence around the central device of Liberty. There is only the slightest hint of reflectivity in the fields on that side. Flyspecks of carbon are also noted, the single most obvious one being at the top of the hair at the juncture of the hair and field. The reverse exhibits considerable mint red color that is only slightly muted, and the strike on the wreath is uncommonly bold. The fields show evidence of having been struck from a polished die, but the resulting reflectivity is not comparable to later, mass produced proofs. Is it enough to qualify as a proof from 1831? We leave the answer to that question to those who view and bid on this interesting and controversial lot, and we strongly discourage mail bidding unless the bidder has seen the coin. (NGC ID# 2263, PCGS# 1797)

    Weight: 10.89 grams

    Metal: 100% Copper

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

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    Auction Dates
    February, 1995
    6th-9th Monday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 320
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