1884 T$1 Trade PR (PCGS# 7064)

2014 January 8 - 12 FUN US Coin Signature Auction - Orlando #1201

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1884 T$1 PR65 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Legend. The 1884 Trade dollar and its closely related 1885 counterpart are two of the most mysterious issues in all of American numismatics. Although rumors of their existence were current in the 19th century, no example of either date was known to the numismatic community until 10 specimens of the 1884 and five pieces of the 1885 surfaced in the estate of Philadelphia coin dealer William K. Idler, who died in 1901. The coins were reportedly found in proof sets of those dates, among many other numismatic treasures, by Idler's son-in-law Captain John W. Haseltine and his business partner Stephen K. Nagy. Because the coins only surfaced many years after their dates of issue, and both Haseltine and Nagy had unsavory reputations for dealing in restrikes and Mint-made delicacies, the 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars have traditionally been labeled as clandestine issues, like the Class III 1804 dollar and the 1913 Liberty nickel. While the cloud still remains over the 1885 to some extent, modern researchers have proven that the 1884 Trade dollar was legally struck under the supervision of Mint officials, with no taint of impropriety. Although the Trade dollar had not been produced in business-strike format since 1878, the Mint faithfully continued to strike proofs every year through 1883 to satisfy collector demand. Since legislation officially terminating the Trade dollar denomination did not take effect until 1887, Mint personnel anticipated continued proof offerings in 1884 and prepared accordingly. The receipt for a pair of proof dies, obverse and reverse, for the 1884 Trade dollar was recorded in the "Die Record Book" on January 3, 1884. This journal was kept by A.W. Downing and A.W. Straub, who were foremen in the Die Maker's Room, and it was discovered in the estate of Chief Engraver Charles Barber, after his death in 1917.
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