1867 Rays Shield Nickel, Elusive PR65+ Cameo
    Dannreuther-3 Obverse, Late Reverse State

    1867 5C Rays PR65+ Cameo PCGS. CAC. Dannreuther-3. Obverse State a/Reverse State d. The 1867 Rays Shield nickels are a famous rarity in proof format, one that has obviously been considered such for a long time; restruck proofs are known to have been produced during the tenure of Mint Director Henry Richard Linderman. The Linderman years were certainly not the only Mint director's tenure under which various numismatic delicacies were produced -- it was merely one of the most infamous. Bowers writes in his reference on three dollar gold pieces:

    "Linderman, an avid numismatist, was in the enviable position to make his own rarities, which he did with reckless abandon. He served two terms in the post: April 1867 to April 1869 and April 1873 to December 1878. Linderman, a medical doctor, was a brilliant man, but, as was the case with every other Mint director since James Ross Snowden in the 1850s, he could not resist the temptation of secretly making restrikes and rarities. This practice continued under others until the summer of 1885."

    For the 1867 Rays Shield nickel proofs, PCGS researcher John Dannreuther has determined that three different obverse dies were used at various times. The Dannreuther-1 die shows the left base of 1 over the right base of a dentil (as does Dannreuther-3), but the 7 in the date is recut (it is clear on Dannreuther-3), and the lower shield shows no die polishing (extensive die polishing appears on Dannreuther-3). Dannreuther-2 shows the left base of the 1 over the left base of a dentil.

    Dannreuther-3 also shows the top right (facing) olive leaf fully "detached," as no stem connects it to the shield. The obverse of this piece in this die state also shows a large lump at the left side of the ball ornament. The die, along with Dannreuther-2 and Dannreuther-1 in later states, was used for multiple restrike periods in 1867-69 and likely 1873-79. Bowers writes that "a related rarity from the era, the famous 1864 L Proof cent, is known with three obverse and two reverse dies!"

    As the same Rays die, which Dannreuther calls Reverse A, was used with all three obverses, the reverse die state can be used to detect the emission sequence. The reverse with this use of Dannreuther-3 shows weakness at the trio of rays under the second T in STATES, particularly on the second ray, which is nearly effaced at bottom. The denticles are weak from 3 to 5 o'clock.

    At the macro level, this is a beautifully contrasted Gem proof that appears close to Deep Cameo. The fields are deeply reflective and all devices thickly frosted. No impairments or obvious contact appears, and the silvery surfaces show a slight golden tint. This is the first Dannreuther-3 that the present cataloger has had the privilege to describe. Population: 6 in 65 (2 in 65+) Cameo, 4 finer (3/13).

    The last PR65 Cameo PCGS piece we offered in this grade (less the Plus and CAC label) was lot 783 in our Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2006), a coin that realized $69,000.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 276H, PCGS# 83818)

    Weight: 5.00 grams

    Metal: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    24th-28th Wednesday-Sunday
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