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Simspon Proof 1804 Eagles ** ANA EXHIBIT **

Category:  Pattern Coins
Owner:  Simpson
Last Modified:  11/27/2012
Set Description
Veteran numismatists are familiar with the proof sets of United States coins produced in 1834 for diplomatic presentations, the most famous of these being the still-intact set pedigreed to the King of Siam. These proof sets were distributed in 1835-36 to the Sultan of Muscat and the King of Siam, respectively, by special diplomatic agent Edmund Roberts. In addition to proof strikings of the current 1834 coinage—half cent, cent, half dime, dime, quarter dollar, half dollar, quarter eagle and half eagle—these sets included two coins whose production had ceased 30 years earlier at the order of President Thomas Jefferson—the silver dollar and the gold eagle, or ten-dollar piece.

The fact that no dollars or eagles had been minted later than 1804 presented a problem to the U. S. Mint. It didn’t want to update these denominations to the current designs, so it chose instead to create new dies of the old types dated 1804, the last recorded year of minting. The mint director and his staff failed to realize, however, that the dollars struck in 1804 were from dies dated 1803. Thus it was that the very first silver dollars dated 1804 were coined in 1834.

The gold eagle had indeed been struck from 1804-dated dies in that year, but the dies no longer existed, so new ones were prepared featuring Robert Scot’s Draped Bust Liberty. In a concession to the current minting technology, these dies included beaded borders in place of the toothlike denticles associated with the original issue, and the number of edge reeds was different. Also distinctive was the numeral 4’s plain cross member, the original issue of 1804 having had a vertical crosslet. In all other respects the dies were nearly identical to the originals, though no proofs were coined of the earlier issue.

These two coins form the centerpiece of NGC's exhibit at the 2010 ANA World's Fair of Money. The opportunity to examine these two extremely rare coins side by side is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the presence of either one at a numismatic convention is a must-see occasion for any collector of United States coins. Such are the riches of the unparalleled Simpson Collection, which presents this rare pair for your viewing pleasure.


Slot Name
Origin/Country
Item Description
Full Grade
Owner Comments
Pics
View Coin Gold Proof 1804 $10 UNITED STATES $10 1804 SIMPSON NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo The exact number of 1804 proof eagles struck in gold has been lost to history, but a mere three examples are known today. Of these, one is presently on long-term loan to the museum of the American Numismatic Association, while a second is likely to always remain with its companion coins as part of the famed King of Siam proof set. That leaves this third example, which sold at a record price for a certified and encapsulated United States gold coin. A splendid gem, it is certified by NGC as PF-65* Ultra Cameo. The fields of this coin are delightfully brilliant and reflective, while its devices are richly frosted. This magnificent rarity is superbly struck throughout and has very clean surfaces, with just a hint of orange toning around its peripheries. Long recognized as the finest known example, it is pedigreed to the famed collection of Virgil M. Brand and now resides in the Simpson Collection.
View Coin Silver Proof 1804 $10 UNITED STATES $10 1804 J-34 SIMPSON NGC PF 64 Though the 1804 proof eagles are clearly not patterns, they were nevertheless assigned Judd Number 33 in the standard reference book on pattern coins. Found directly below that entry is Judd-34, a proof struck from the same dies but in silver with a reeded edge. A rarity in its own right, the Judd book rates this issue as High Rarity 7, suggesting that around four to five examples are known. Just this single specimen has been certified by NGC, and it grades nearly gem at PF-64 (8-10). A unique, plain edge impression is also reported, but it is not presently traced.

The reason for striking silver impressions from these dies is not certain, but they were likely coined at or near the date of issue for the gold pieces. Whether these were trial strikes or caprices produced for numismatists will forever remain a mystery, unless some contemporary correspondence should surface.

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