Seated Dollar Book – Updated information on 1861 Proof Dies…

Since our book was published in January, 2018, there have been no new die
marriages discovered. This means either that we did a near-perfect job of
identifying them, or that there hasn’t been a lot of dollars being attributed. We
hope that the reason is the former, but we suspect it’s the latter. Due to the
overall scarcity of the series and the small number of serious collectors we don’t
believe that a lot of Seated Dollars get attributed. Our kudos to both Heritage
and Stacks-Bowers, who are using our die marriage information in their auction
catalogs.

Although no new die marriages have been discovered, there has been one
change to the die marriage listings. In cataloguing Seated Dollars for the Stacks-
Bowers Spring Baltimore auction John Pack identified an 1861 proof as a new
die marriage, with the only known 1861 proof obverse die, our Obverse P1,
paired with the reverse die first used to strike proofs in 1856, our Reverse 1856
PA.

A quick review of our pictures in the Stacks-Bowers auction catalog confirmed
that John’s attribution was correct. He deserves much credit for being thorough
enough to not only determine that the coin represented an undocumented die
marriage, but to also determine that the reverse die was transitional. However,
further research revealed that the marriage was not truly a new one. Rather, it
represented an error we made in analyzing the known 1861 proof die marriages.
We identified two distinct reverse dies, our Reverses PA and PB. We failed to
identify Reverse PB as transitional – the same die first used in 1856. The correct
terminology identifies this die as Reverse 1856 PA. We’ve updated the 1861
chapter of our on-line version of the book (www.seateddollarvarieties.com) to
reflect this new information. This die is pervasive throughout the book since it’s
used in other years and for several notable restrikes. We probably haven’t caught all the appearances outside the 1861 chapter, but we’re working on it.

Another ramification of this discovery involves the year 1859. The book notes that a review of the Heritage archives revealed a single coin that didn’t appear to match the one known die marriage for 1859 proofs. This coin, which was sold in the Reiver sale in January, 2006, may possibly be a rare die marriage which paired the normal proof obverse with Reverse 1856 PA. Unfortunately, the quality of the picture in the Heritage archives isn’t sufficient to conclusively identify the reverse as 1856 PA, but we have a strong suspicion that it is. Moreover, this raises that possibility that the die was also used in 1860. We haven’t seen an example, but it’s reasonable to assume that the die, if used for regular-issue proofs in 1861, and probably also in 1859, was used in 1860. We reviewed enough 1860 proofs in the Heritage archives to know that this die marriage, if it exists, is rare. If the pandemic continues, we’ll get them all reviewed.

1856 reverse PA lumps on L 1856 reverse PA lumps on S1

We invite comments. We’d particularly love to hear if someone out there owns
the 1859 proof from the Reiver sale. It’s an NGC PR64. Unless it’s been re-
holdered it will still have the Reiver provenance noted on the holder.

Happy Hunting!
Dick & Brian

About DORC Blog

DORC/OCN Blog. This blog is run by Brian P Cushing. This blog will provide our customers with show and market reports, company information, Seated Dollar book information, new purchase info and other random musings. Twitter: DORCisms Brian is a specialist in early United States silver coinage. He is co-author of the book "Liberty Seated Dollars: A Register of Die Varieties." (www.SeatedDollarVarieties.com). Brian is a proud Dad to four wonderful kiddies.
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