Coins Certified as of 2/6

Double Eagle. [25] So-called closed 3, though the large knobs of 3 are actually only closely spaced, not nearly touching; on the open 3 type, introduced fairly early in the year, the knobs are smaller and spaced apart. (The closed 3 logotype is as on the standard silver dollar, the open 3 as on the trade dollar.) Only one pair of dies for proofs, those used also on copper and aluminum strikes as on the quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle. Low date near border. (1) Smithsonian. (2) Brock, Morgan, ANS. (3) Lansing, Michigan cornerstone. (4) Government of India set. (5) Baldenhofer: 1538; possibly Kreisberg-Schulman 3/65:185, ex Stack's May 1957 auction:651; possibly ex Menjou: 1811, "superb". (6) WGC: 876. (7) Eliasberg. (8) "Memorable": 695, cleaned possibly Atwater: 1264. (9) Amon Carter Sr. & Jr. (10) Harry Boosel, RARCOA 4/28-30/1972: 674, to ?, to Harry Bass, Mike Brownlee, A-Mark Co. Tiny nick behind curl opposite l1th star; hairline (?) from A(M) to D of value via crotch of r. wing; traces of cleaning - same as (8)?

Gold proof sets. [25] Delivered as of February 18.

Complete proof sets. The complete set of first type (silver without arrows, including standard dollar, trime and half dime) is recorded as having come from the Coiner to the Curator, February 11, 1873. AN"S's came from the Mint in 1873 to R.C.W. Brock, thence to J. Pierpont Morgan. In March 1873 the U.S. Government appropriated $50 for cost of furnishing one complete proof set, cent to $20 inclusive (therefore of first type, silver without arrows, etc.), for the Government of India, c/o The Honorable Col. Hyde, Master of Her Majesty's Mint, Calcutta, Bengal; the set may still remain in the Mint Museum at Calcutta. This was in exchange for a group of Indian proof coins dated 1862 and 1870 sent by Hyde for inclusion in the Philadelphia Mint Cabinet Collection. (Thanks, Harry Boosel.) Eliasberg has most 1873 denominations in proof but I am not inclined to believe that his source, John H. Clapp, had obtained them as a set - especially since he owned a restrike three-dollar piece.


Cent. [700+] Two varieties at least. That more often seen has normal date. The coins are frequently of very light fiery brilliance, probably a peculiarity of the bronze alloy; same remark holds for 1875.

- The other and rarer variety has 4 first punched notably too low and then corrected; reverse is the die of 1872-73. ANS; NN 57: 71, NN 56: 659; this last was the discovery piece, at a then high $145. Cf. also LM 11 /65: 151. To date about nine of these have been seen as against over a hundred of the normal date. Which one came first is undeterminable but might be guessed at from examination of the piece in the Smithsonian, as the proof set from which it comes was bought from the Coiner, Feb. 10, 1874.

Three Cents Nickel. [700+] Frequently with granular planchet defects in centers. At least two minor varieties.

-High date, left base of 1 central, r. base of 4 over r. edge; weak LIBERTY; extra outlines on UNI CA. Scattered striae slant down. Rev. Scattered striae slant up and down. This is probably the commoner variety.

- Minutely doubled date, first cut to r., then corrected, plainest evidence on 4. MHS I: 268, thence 1975 ANA: 119.

Five Cents Nickel. [700+] Often on granular flans like the 3¢; often with partly rounded edges. Nickel metallurgy was still a source of great difficulty to the mint. At least two minor varieties.

- Strong date, usually with recutting atop 4. This is commoner.

-Weakly logotyped date. Scarcer. Which came first might be answerable by the procedure recommended for the cent. Other varieties may exist.

Minor proof sets. Cent, 3¢ and 5¢. Mostly broken up. Dime. [700] Slanting arrows at date. The only variety seen to date has no visible recutting at date; faint striae at 74 and at border, 6:00 to 10:00. Rev. Clash marks around E of DIME. Some 400 struck during first quarter, 300 during third. By coincidence, this is the same as the number of proof sets delivered during the year. There were some 300 extra 1873 dimes with arrows on hand at the beginning of the year, which were presumably delivered during the first and third quarters; and 300 dimes were also on hand at the beginning of 1875, many if not most presumably dated 1874. The coin is hardly rare - in fact it is always available for a price - but the price has been forced up and up by continual demand from date collectors, who prize all coins with arrows.

Quarter. [850] Normal date, with arrows. Shield point almost over tip of r. foot. Left base of 1 and r. base of 4 over left edges of dentils. Rev. of 1872-73. The usually seen figure of 700 proofs arises from delivery dates of silver -minor proof sets: 400 during first quarter, 200 in second, 50 each during last two. However, there were 520 proof quarters made during the first quarter year, 70 in second and 260 in third (none in 4th), total 850. The others presumably were intended for sale as individual proof coins outside the sets. At the beginning of 1875, some 190 were left on hand, most of them presumably sold during the second quarter of that year. Now 850-700 leaves only 150, a discrepancy of 40, but these 40 were leftover quarters dated 1873 with arrows on hand at the beginning of 1874.

The 1874 quarter is also anything but rare, always available for a price, and the price is kept up by the same mechanism as with the dime. There are also numerous deceptive first strikes, most of them with bag marks, all with poor relief details compared to the proofs. The majority of 1874 proof quarters appear to have been dipped or otherwise cleaned. I have heard this practice rationalized by dealers on grounds that toned coins do not sell as well. Unfortunately, the cleaning solutions used (or the baking soda powder or scrub brush, for that matter) cause the surfaces to become "activated" in the chemical sense so that oxidation from atmospheric contaminants proceeds much more rapidly than before - resulting in repeated cleanings, to the great detriment of the coins' surfaces. Some of them look positively porous by now.

1874 Half Dollar

Half Dollar. Short arrowheads at date only. Beistle 1-A. [750] Rather high date, shield point over center of 1, left base of 1 left of center, r. base of 4 r. of center; rev. of 1873. Some nonproofs show long arrowheads as in 1873. The usual figure of 700 proofs comes from the explanation given for smaller silver; the extra 50 were presumably intended for individual sales. There were 400 proofs struck in the first quarter, 250 in the second, 100 in the third, total 750; some 50 1873's had remained on hand at the beginning of 1874, some 100 (mostly 1874's?) remained on hand at the beginning of 1875. The same remark about cleaning holds for the half dollars as well.