1867 5C Rays, CA PR (PCGS# 83818)
The March 2012 Baltimore Auction
Lot Number: 4045
View the Original Auction
This is the rare Proof striking of the second year 1867 Rays nickel, an issue with an unknown although presumably limited mintage. The official decision to drop the rays from the reverse design was made early in the year before any Proofs were produced. The rays cluttered the design, contributed to early die breakage and otherwise just complicated and increased the cost of production for this type. Even so, it seems that at least 15 Proofs of this type were struck sometime in 1867, perhaps after the No Rays type had been introduced. Additional pieces were struck in later years, probably at the request of contemporary dealers and/or collectors with close ties to Mint personnel, but the total number of Proof 1867 Rays nickels produced probably did not exceed 75 coins. Today, it is likely that no more than 50 or 60 specimens can be traced in numismatic circles.<br />
A beautiful near-Gem dusted with pale champagne-gold iridescence, this coin also sports full striking detail and a bold cameo finish. Minor porosity in the planchet in the lower left obverse field is as made, and there are no mentionable handling marks. A definite highlight of the extensive nickel five-cent offerings in this sale, and a coin that belongs in the finest cabinet.<br />
<strong>Numismatic Reflections by Q. David Bowers<br />
</strong>A lot of memories are attached to the 1867 With Rays Proof nickel. Back in 1955 when I attended my first American Numismatic Association convention in Omaha, Nebraska, I broke all records by outbidding everyone else and paying $610 for a magnificent Proof of this issue. My, how things have changed since then. Move the decimal point over to the right. Still, this remains the rarity in the Shield nickel series, with more demand than ever before. The present coin is very attractive and it will be just right in a high-quality set.