THE SLOTKIN FAMILY TRUST PROOF SHIELD NICKEL SET
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||FIVE-CENT PIECES - SHIELD, RAYS, PROOF
||5C 1867 RAYS
||NGC PF 66 CA
1867 5C Rays PR66 Cameo NGC. Dannreuther-2. The left base of the 1 in the date is over the left portion of a dentil. The lower portion of the shield displays die polish. The lower shield is clear for Dannreuther-1, and Dannreuther-3 has the left base of the 1 over the right portion of a dentil. The rarity of the proof 1867 Rays nickel was known to collectors at an early date, and it appears that the Mint made some unofficial restrikes between after 1867, likely for sale at a profit to well-connected Philadelphia dealers.
The 1867 Rays nickel has a traditional proof mintage of 25 pieces, which presumably applies only to examples struck in early 1867. In the 2006 Guide Book of Shield and Liberty Head Nickels, Q. David Bowers estimates a mintage of 55 to 80 proofs, however the PCGS and NGC have certified less than half that number.
The key date status of the proof 1867 Rays variety is unchallenged.
Delicate plum-red, gold, and ice-blue toning visits this flashy and intricately struck Premium Gem. The attractive patina is undoubtedly the inspiration for the Star designation awarded by NGC. For those who research the pedigrees of this rare variety, we note a small planchet flake beneath the E in CENTS, and a curly mint-made lint mark at the lower right corner of the N in IN.
NGC has certified 22 proof 1867 Rays nickels in all grades, some of which may represent duplicate submissions. None have been certified as Ultra Cameo, and none have been certified without a Cameo designation above the PR65 level. Three proofs are graded PR66 Cameo, but only the present specimen has garnered the Star designation. Thus, as of (3/08), it holds the honor of finest NGC-certified. The PCGS population is similar, with none encapsulated as Deep Cameo and none certified higher than PR66 with or without a Cameo designation.