1867 5C Rays, CA PR (PCGS# 83818)


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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1867 5C Rays PR65 Cameo NGC. Poor striking quality plagued the shield nickel design from its inception. The copper-nickel alloy was extremely hard, and caused problems with metal flow in the deeper recesses of the design. The alloy's hardness also caused excessive die wear and breakage. Each die was only good for about 10,000 strikes, compared to almost 400,000 strikes for Morgan dollar dies. To help solve these problems, A. Loudon Snowden and James Longacre removed the rays from the reverse design early in 1867. Snowden wrote to Mint Director Millward, proposing the change take effect on February 1, 1867, but the exact date of the change is uncertain. This measure had the desired result, and striking quality was much improved on the Without Rays issues. The mintage of 1867 With Rays proof Shield nickels is unknown. It is generally accepted that the coins were produced in both original and restrike issues, but records for either mintage are nonexistent. John Dannreuther has estimated perhaps 15 originals were struck, with three times that number produced as restrikes, in five different production runs. In A Guide Book of Shield and Liberty Head Nickels, Q. David Bowers states, "The 1867 With Rays Proof is a classic rarity. Probably no more than several dozen or so are known." The issue has been over-represented in population reports, with many duplicate submission events. The present coin is a delightful specimen of this rare issue. The fields are reflective and free of distractions. The strike is unusually sharp for this design, exhibiting crisp detail on all design elements. NGC has awarded this specimen the coveted Cameo designation. Overall eye appeal is outstanding. Census: 4 in 65 Cameo, 3 finer (12/08).
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