Exciting Choice Proof 1844 Silver Dollar1844 $1 PR64 PCGS. CAC. For the 1844, it is a simple matter to distinguish proofs from business strikes. This is because the commercial dies have prominent diagnostics. Liberty's shield is a "quad stripes" variety, caused by a die doubled obverse. The reverse features prominent die lines beneath the wings, unforgettably described as the "armpit variety" in Breen's 1988 Encyclopedia. Only 20,000 business strikes were coined, but survivors carry little premium in grades through XF. AU and better examples sell for significantly higher prices than No Motto type coins, such as the 1859-O and 1860-O.
The number of proofs produced is unknown, but undoubtedly low. In 2006, Duncan Lee listed the 1844 as the sixth rarest proof date in the series. All appear to be coined with the "common reverse" identified by die chips near the final A in AMERICA. Another pick-up point for this reverse is the third line of the first vertical stripe, which extends to the third horizontal line.
The obverse diagnostics are less familiar, but there are tiny die spikes from the drapery near Liberty's raised elbow, and the center of the date has a sunken appearance. Apparently, the date was entered into the obverse die by rocking the logotype punch back and forth, instead of applying it with an even force. Thus, the top and bottom of the date digits are deeply impressed, while the center of the digits display lower relief.
The present piece is a splendid example. The strike is essentially full, and the rich autumn-brown and ice-blue patina is highly attractive. For those who track pedigrees of this rare proof issue, we note a hair-thin mark in the field near the base of the drapery above the knee. Since 2000, Heritage has offered only three other examples, including an impaired specimen and one appearance each in our 2007 and 2008 FUN Signature auctions. Population: 1 in 64, 0 finer (2/08).
Ex: Golden Jubilee Sale (B. Max Mehl, 5/1950), lot 814; Amon G. Carter, Jr. Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 250.
From The Queller Family Collection of Silver Dollars.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 24ZU, PCGS# 6985)
Weight: 26.73 grams
Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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