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    1881 Trade Dollar, PR68 ★ Cameo
    One of the Three Finest Certified
    Colorful Proof-Only Example

    1881 T$1 PR68 ★ Cameo NGC. The 1873 Mint Act eliminated the standard silver dollar and created a Trade dollar for use in East Asia. Although not intended for domestic circulation, the Trade dollar was authorized as legal tender in payments up to five dollars. By 1876, the price of silver had dropped to the point where it became profitable for Californians to coin silver into Trade dollars for circulation on the West Coast. The coins quickly flooded commercial channels, becoming a nuisance. The same began to take place in the Atlantic states soon after. Mid-way through 1876, the Specie Resumption Act repealed the legal tender status of the Trade dollar, but its passage had little effect on eliminating the coins from circulation. Only in 1878 was the denomination done in for good, when Treasury Secretary John Sherman halted business-strike production.

    The manufacture of proofs carried on after 1878. Sales rose in 1879 once regular-issue coins were no longer available. Demand remained steady through 1880 but dropped significantly in 1881. Merely 960 proof Trade dollars were struck that year. Survivors are collectible through PR65 and become rare in PR66. Cameo examples represent roughly 30% to 40% of the certified population.

    This PR68 Cameo specimen is in a league of its own. There are only three 1881 Trade dollar proofs graded PR68 at both NGC and PCGS combined. All three are in NGC holders with Star and Cameo designations. We previously sold one other PR68 Cameo coin in our 2011 Central States Signature sale. That piece was formerly part of the Jack Lee Collection, and it brought $80,500.

    Gold and violet iridescence dominates each side, while crescents of profound cobalt-blue and light sea-green coloration adorn the peripheral areas. The hues are especially captivating on the reverse. The fields remain flashy beneath the colorful patina, explaining the acknowledged contrast. Not a single mark is apparent on either side. The strike is full, a quality that eludes many representatives of this proof-only issue. Census: 3 in 68 Cameo (3 in 68 ), 0 finer (3/17).
    From The Siegel Collection.(Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 27YT, PCGS# 87061)

    Weight: 27.22 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

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

    View all of [The Siegel Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2017
    26th-30th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 23
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 839

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