Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 75

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Lot 1485

1855. Arrows. NGC graded Proof 66 Cameo. We note a minor planchet flaw on the reverse above "D". A mix of original colors on the obverse, with a bit less abundance on the reverse. The motifs are frosty while the fields are reflective; most importantly, the cameo they provide is noted on the NGC holder. Very few Proofs of this date exist. In addition to the perfect date Proofs minted in 1855, there are a few struck with an 1855/4 overdated die. On the present coin, the devices including date, stars, and legends, are strong and unmistakable, razor-sharpness noted everywhere. Fields are deep, reflective, and indeed, reflect perfectly the high grade that NGC has assigned to the coin A very rare and interesting With Arrows coin that will see a fair amount of bidding activity before it lends its beauty to an outstanding collection.

Why are there arrows beside the date on Half Dollars minted in 1853 to 1855? By 1850, the massive flows of gold from California had depressed the prices of that metal, and made silver more valuable by comparison in the better items-metallic system in use in the 19th century. The consequence was that most all silver coins disappeared from circulation as they were worth more than face value. Depositors gave little silver to the mints for coinage, and there were no denominations in circulation between the cent and gold dollar. Something had to be done. In 1853 Congress addressed the issue by reducing the amount of silver for minor denominations (but not the Silver Dollar), in order to reflect the market value of silver as compared to gold. On the half dollar, the weight was reduced from 206.25 grains to 192 grains, and Mint Director George Eckert ordered quick changes to the dies so the entire design did not have to be changed. Arrows were added at the date, and on the reverse, rays were added surrounding the eagle. These design changes caused a problem, the dies cracked and broke to pieces much faster with the arrows and rays. In fact, die life fell to one-third normal, and dies had to be replaced rapidly. When Col. James Ross Snowden took over as Mint Director in 1853, he immediately ordered the rays removed starting in 1854, both to extend die life and because so little of the heavier pre arrows coinage was in circulation by then. The arrows were later dropped starting in 1856. Only a few Proof specimens were struck, and their mintage was not recorded. Only estimates exist now as to how many Proofs are extant. Pop 1; none finer at NGC. Estimated Value $30,000-UP

Realized $63,250

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