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United States 1859 Proof Coins from the Royal Mint Museum

by Morton & Eden Ltd


11 lots with images

March 6, 2013

Sotheby’s, in the Upper Grosvenor Gallery

The Aeolian Hall, Bloomfield Place

New Bond Street, W1A 2AA United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)207 493 5344

Fax: +44 (0)207 495 6325

Email: info@mortonandeden.com

COPPER-NICKEL CENT PROOF, 1859

Lot 601: COPPER-NICKEL CENT PROOF, 1859

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Description: COPPER-NICKEL CENT PROOF, 1859 OBVERSE: Head of Liberty wearing feathered Indian headdress with LIBERTY inscribed on band; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - 1859 around REVERSE: ONE CENT within laurel wreath WEIGHT: 4.681g REFERENCE: Breen 1944; Breen Proofs, p. 112; PCGS No. 2247; Hocking 5147-8 CONDITION: PCGS PR65 [Certificate number 17250147]. Lint marks in field by A of AMERICA and at Liberty's chin, a few trivial spots, gentle yellow / orange toning with hints of magenta on reverse NOTE: 1859 - the first year of Longacre's Indian Head design - was destined to become a one year type, a shield being incorporated on a redesigned reverse with oak wreath in the following year. In Great Britain, decimal patterns of 1859 included a British 'ONE CENT' with a reverse very similar to this coin, coupled with the obverse portrait of Queen Victoria (cf. Peck, C.W., English Copper, Tin and Bronze Coins in the British Museum 1558-1958, London, 1964, pl. 41, no. 2004). The PCGS Population Report (1/13) records 55 examples graded PR65, with 20 finer (PR67 being the finest). The example retained by the Royal Mint Museum weighs 4.776g and has been graded PR64.

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SILVER THREE-CENT PIECE ('TRIME') PROOF, 1859

Lot 602: SILVER THREE-CENT PIECE ('TRIME') PROOF, 1859

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Description: SILVER THREE-CENT PIECE ('TRIME') PROOF, 1859 OBVERSE: Heraldic shield emblazoned on outlined six-pointed star; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - 1859 around REVERSE: III within large elaborate C, laurel branch above and bundle of arrows below, thirteen stars around WEIGHT: 0.749g REFERENCE: Breen 2928; Breen Proofs p. 112; PCGS No. 3708; Hocking 5139-40 CONDITION: PCGS PR63 [Certificate number: 17250145]. A couple of scuffs on obverse, notably at F of OF, with overall gunmetal tone NOTE: 1859 marked the introduction of the Type III (and final) design. The three cent silver denomination was relatively short-lived (1851-1873) and part of its raison d'être is thought to have been to simplify the purchase of postage stamps. Owing to their very small size "fish scales", as the coins were nicknamed, were easily lost and became unpopular with the public. The PCGS Population Report (1/13) records 55 examples graded PR63, with 71 finer (PR67 the finest). The example retained by the Royal Mint Museum weighs 0.751g and has also been graded PR63.

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HALF DIME PROOF, 1859

Lot 603: HALF DIME PROOF, 1859

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Description: HALF DIME PROOF, 1859 OBVERSE: Liberty seated right, head left, holding pileus on staff in her left hand; her right hand resting on a shield emblazoned with LIBERTY on ribbon, thirteen stars around, 1859 below REVERSE: HALF / DIME within laurel wreath; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around WEIGHT: 1.246g REFERENCE: Breen 3095; Breen Proofs p. 112-113; PCGS No. 4438; Hocking 5136-5137 CONDITION: PCGS PR64 [Certificate number: 17250143] Obverse a little muted in comparison to the reflective reverse but sharply struck, with deep steel-blue toning NOTE: The last year of this design before the Nation's name was transferred to the obverse and the elements of the wreath changed to "Newlin's Wreath of Cereals". According to Breen the obverse hub was slightly modified this year for the half dime denomination only, and therefore it is a one year type. Breen notes a mintage of 800 pieces. The PCGS Population Report (1/13) records 65 examples graded PR64, with 34 finer (PR67 the finest). The example retained by the Royal Mint Museum weighs 1.250g and has also been graded PR64.

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DIME, PROOF, 1859

Lot 604: DIME, PROOF, 1859

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Description: DIME, PROOF, 1859 OBVERSE: Liberty seated right, head left, holding pileus on staff in her left hand; her right hand resting on a shield emblazoned with LIBERTY on ribbon, thirteen stars around, 1859 below REVERSE: ONE / DIME within laurel wreath; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around WEIGHT: 2.492g REFERENCE: Breen 3311; Breen Proofs p. 113; PCGS No. 4748; Hocking 5133-5134 CONDITION: PCGS PR64 [Certificate number: 17250142]. Liberty's hair a little lightly struck, patches of darker tone at date and on N of ONE, with overall deep blue / slate colouration and some richer purples on the obverse NOTE: 1859 marked the last year in which the Philadelphia mint struck dimes with the laurel wreath reverse, retained by San Francisco for a further year. Breen notes a mintage of 800 pieces. The PCGS Population Report (1/13) records 60 examples graded PR64, with 47 finer (PR67 the finest). The example retained by the Royal Mint Museum weighs 2.493g and this too has been graded PR64.

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QUARTER DOLLAR, PROOF, 1859

Lot 605: QUARTER DOLLAR, PROOF, 1859

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Description: QUARTER DOLLAR, PROOF, 1859 OBVERSE: Liberty seated right, head left, holding pileus on staff in her left hand; her right hand resting on a shield with LIBERTY on ribbon, thirteen stars around, 1859 below REVERSE: Heraldic eagle, head left, with shield on chest and holding an olive branch and arrows in its talons; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - QUAR. DOL. around WEIGHT: 6.224g REFERENCE: Breen 3311; Breen Proofs p. 113; PCGS No. 5555; Hocking 5128-5129 CONDITION: PCGS PR64 [Certificate number: 17250139]. Very choice mint state, obverse with even, deep complex tone, reverse with a couple of marks and rich blue / purple hues NOTE: In 1859, according to Walter Breen, James Longacre enlisted the help of Anthony C. Paquet to make minor alterations to the quarter's design, somewhat opening its elements. Breen notes a mintage of 800 pieces. The PCGS Population Report (1/13) records 51 examples graded PR64, with 14 finer (PR67 the finest). The example retained by the Royal Mint Museum also weighs 6.224g and has been graded PR63.

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