Steven Roach 's Blog

04 May 2015

A Proof-like Rarity

Coins-United States | Steven Roach

As many collectors wonder into their beloved coin shop, the saying is true how you should be prepared for the unexpected. There was no exception to this rule when I entered my favorite coin shop! Within minuets I noticed a relatively captivating glare; upon their case was a brilliant 1878 quarter with a remarkable feature, one that I've never noticed closely. The fields we're harshly marked, indicating the grade MS61, though I was astounded with the mirrored surface. The coin was designated as proof-like by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), a feature that I've only noticed for the famed Morgan Dollar. As my curiosity grew quickly, I acquired this coin before the opportunity faded away.

That was the first time I was able to finally own a rare coin! Quite inexpensive for it's rarity, however that's not to say it doesn't deserve such status. So, what makes this coin rare, after all there were only 2,260,000 struck? Normally that could be considered a modest mintage figure, especially since 1879 quarters only had a run of 13,600. It's quite simple, since this coin was struck from polished dies it received the illustrious mirrors from the rugged dies. From 1838 to 1891, NGC has only certified 57 Seated Liberty 25c as proof-like and only one as DPL; that's not to say that there are only 57, but it's a significant figure to display it's rarity. Especially since NGC has only graded four as proof-like from 1878.

It's commonly known that a proof-like coin receives it's mirrors from polished dies, however the dies aren't always new; which is evident by this coin since the both sides display noticeable die rust, while the reverse has significant radial die cracks. No, the mint didn't polish these business strike dies to appease us collectors, instead it was to prevent die erosion. After all the mint was mainly focused on the new Morgan (Bland) Dollars. Since the mint didn't always polish their dies, and with each coin struck from one of these dies, the mirrors soon were destroyed by the radial die flow lines (In other words: stress from striking, which is what creates luster for coins).

You wouldn't think much about these coins during their circulating periods, after all not as many people collected back then (though the population was growing). Which is another factor for why these coins are relatively rare and quite desirable; wouldn't it be nice to have an uncirculated/AU set of coins with PL qualities? Now I try to search for these coins for my own collection, which is something I hope any collector looking for a nice coin will find. I am interested in knowing if anyone else does the same thing, so let me know... especially what you think of these special numismatic pieces of art and pure history.

Feel free to check my collections where you will find pictures of this coin! Thank you, and have a nice day!



Level 4

Great coin.


Level 5

Awesome coin!


Level 5

Cool stuff!

It's Mokie

Level 6

That's a beauty!!


Level 6

Beautiful coin and great find!


Level 7

That is some find. Someday I might get lucky and find a beauty like that. Good for you and enjoy it for along time. I think it will take care of you. Congratulations.Mike.


Level 5

Good find.


Level 5

Great find!


Level 4

Seated libs rock!


Level 5

Wow amazing, good job.


Level 5

That is a true rarity! How much did it cost!

Mr. Wheatie

Level 5

Beautiful coin. I love to hear of these coins. The seated Liberty designs are one of my favorites. I hope to be reading more stories from like this soon


Level 6

Very nice find. Well Done!

Ian Fenn

Level 5

good find

Steven Roach

Level 4

Thank's Sam, I certainly find enjoyment for these piece!


Level 5

It's always nice to see an up and coming collector find a niche interest within numismatics at a relatively young age; excellent field of study, Steven. It may one day pay off very well for you, in many ways!

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