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    Blazing White Gem 1875-S/CC Trade Dollar

    1875-S/CC T$1 MS65 NGC. FS-012.6. Type I Obverse / Type I Reverse. For more than 30 years the existence of a second variety of the S/CC has been rumored and speculated, but no one has actually seen an example (to our knowledge) since 1974, and it has never been photographed prior to our sale of this coin in the Central States Auction of April 2002. Both Walter Breen and Dave Bowers listed a second variety in their respective encyclopedias, but only one coin has been ever been reported and the whereabouts of that piece were lost in the mid-1970s. The best and most thorough account is on page 988 of Bowers' Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, under "Bruce Amspacher's Discovery." The passage reads:
    "Bruce Amspacher related the following concerning the rarer of two die varieties of the 1875-S/CC: "In early 1974, Ed Hipps sold an 1875-S/CC trade dollar to Jim Halperin for $375. The coin was frosty, mint state, and clean-as-a-gem to my 1974 eyes. I wanted the coin, but Jim quoted me $625 for it. Too much. The neatest thing about the coin was that the 'CC' mintmark was completely clear of the 'S' and far to the right. In 1975 I asked Jim if he still had the coin. He said he had sold it to Eric Newman (or maybe he said he sold it to John Willem--it was definitely one of those two).
    "When I wrote the trade dollar section for John Highfill's book, The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, I mentioned this variety. Walter Breen saw the article before publication and asked John to contact me. It was a new undiscovered variety Walter insisted, and he wanted to see a photograph. John said that Walter was very excited about the coin. I called Jim about the coin, but he didn't remember anything about it. Jim chided me about my ability to remember "everything that has ever happened." Of course, I don't remember everything, or even close to it. But I do remember that coin, and the variety definitely exists."
    As confident as Bruce Amspacher is about what he remembered about the coin he saw in 1974, we are equally confident that this piece is neither a traditional S/CC, nor is it the variety Amspacher referred to where the "mintmark was completely clear of the 'S' and far to the right." We believe this coin was struck from a third reverse die. The S mintmark is not staggered to the left of the upright of the D in DOLLAR as on the traditionally encountered S/CC Trade Dollar. Nor is it "far to the right" as indicated by Amspacher's comments. The second C is half again as close to the S as the C on the normally seen S/CC. This proximity to the dominant mintmark and the obvious use of a different reverse die, leads one to the inescapable conclusion that this coin was struck from a third reverse die that the Carson City mint had shipped to San Francisco in 1875.
    Examination of this piece with a microscope reveals why this variety has remained unknown until now, and why it is so difficult to see with the unaided eye (unlike the traditional S/CC Trade Dollar). The second C was virtually effaced on the die. This most likely occurred when a mint employee effaced the CC mintmark with an emery stick. This removed most, but not all traces of the second C. This is very similar to how the 1937-D Three Legged Buffalo Nickel was created. In that case, an overzealous employee removed clash marks with an emery stick and in the process also removed a part of the buffalo's foreleg. On this piece, an oval area of roughness is seen adjacent to the right side of the dominant mintmark. There is also a horizontal line within the top loop of the S that could be interpreted as the top of the first C in the mintmark. However, it could also be the product of a filled area of the die. We simply cannot be certain about this.
    Aside from the position of the mintmark relative to the D in DOLLAR, the second most obvious diagnostic on this coin is the small lump of die rust to the left of the S. However, this is far from conclusive as the normally encountered S/CC also has a lump of rust to the left of the mintmark, only differently positioned and shaped. There is also a distinctive die crack that begins far left of the word TRADE and terminates at the left side of the A. Another die crack, this time very fine, is seen in the field just to the right and up from the word FINE. Other die cracks are seen on the obverse, most notably from the lower left rim through the waves and continuing upward through star 1 and almost to star 2. Another crack begins far below star 2 and terminates in the field close to star 3. A fine crack runs from rim to rim touching the tips of the olive leaves in Liberty's outstretched hand. The entire coin shows roller marks, the most obvious ones located on the head of Liberty on the obverse. Brilliant throughout, the surfaces are extraordinarily clean and problem-free with no obvious abrasions on either side. The striking details are slightly soft on each side, but this is a minor consideration on this stunning Gem.
    The importance of this coin cannot be overstated to specialists. To date, it is the only example known of this overmintmark variety. It is also the discovery coin, a fact that will always carry considerable cachet in the future. That aside, it is also one of only three S/CC Trade Dollars certified in Gem condition by the major services. A coin of unquestioned rarity, importance, and desirability.
    Ex: Heritage's Sale (April, 2002), lot 4111.
    From The Jack Lee Collection, III(#7040) (Registry values: N10218)

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 7040)

    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 Jack Lee Collection, III ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2005
    2nd-5th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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