Most casual collectors and serious numismatists, myself included, marvel at the pristine quality of the annual proof sets which are produced at the US Mint today. With stringent precision and almost hospital like conditions, coins are virtually perfect when they leave the dies. Then sealed with utmost care into their respective holder, long lasting perfection is fundamentally assured for generations to come. If the visual thrill for modern proof sets excites the average collector imagine the delight when the accomplished numismatist is able to examine pristine original proof sets coined in the 19th century! Well that opportunity has presented itself!
Ross Baldwin President of National Coin Broker has three such glorious impeccably preserved proof sets available. “I can hardly believe it myself” said Ross Baldwin, sets like these just don’t appear with any frequency and when they do come to market there is always heated demand for them. In most instances there can only be several hundred or fewer complete sets available which the astute collector could hope to acquire. With competition raging for the finest registry sets known the enthusiasm on the playing field is elevated when complete sets of coins from any given mid-19th century date come to market. That is precisely the case here; there are three separate offerings of magnificent complete minor proof sets which have been kept together since their production, in some instances over a century and a half ago.
All of these coins are pristine advised Mr. Baldwin, totally original and a joy to behold. Each set is encapsulated in the old-style NGC Museum holder or holders which allow the complete visual continuity of the sets. All of the following is also pedigreed to the fabulous Boca collection. The exciting eight piece 1886 issue contains the type I and type II Indian head cents.
Eight Piece 1886 Proof Set Including Both Indian Cent Varieties
1886 Was truly the acceleration of the industrial revolution as the first patent for an automobile was given to Mercedes-Benz in January. To the more whimsical, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first groundhogs Day was held on February 2. Those Americans wanting a different beverage were able to indulge with the new drink called Coca-Cola produced in Atlanta and was made available to the public initially as a health tonic in May. In October the awe-inspiring Statue of Liberty National Monument officially opened.
Numismatically, this year, like all the other years from this decade, is notable for low mintage business strikes that drive up demand for proofs. Once again the Liberty Nickel had an impressively low mintage, this time 3.3 million pieces were struck for general circulation. This was more than twice as many as the 1885 business strike nickels, but still low enough to place this date in the key category and subject this issue in great demand as a proof. The three cent nickel is only available with this date in proof format as there were no circulation strikes produced. Once again, the quarters and halves were low mintage issues as business strikes, which were limited to only 5,000 pieces produced, all at Philadelphia mint facility. This dramatic reduction in minor silver coins was due to the massive quantities of Morgan dollars which were being produced, utilizing the silver stockpile from the western mining interests. For variety collectors a new hub was introduced for the Indian cent this year, and each standard issue variant is also known within the proof format (and represented in this set). Known as the type I and type II the latter being the more desirable and scarce variety.in the first variant the type I the last feather on the Indians headrests is visible between the “I and C” in America the second hub variety to has that last feather placed between the “C and A” in America.
A record-breaking (at the time!) 4,290 three-coin minor proof sets were struck in 1886; however, most were obviously broken up for the Liberty nickel and three cent nickel by collectors’ during the ensuing decades. Of the four-coin silver proof sets, only 886 sets were produced. Walter Breen states that the silver sets produced in the fourth quarter (261 sets) “went as Christmas presents, that being then an apparently common pattern.” the following is a detailed list of the coins which grace this popular 1886 issue.
1886 Indian Cent (Type 1) PR64 Brown NGC. The more accessible of the two proof cent issues for the year, offered here with glimpses of
copper-orange at the obverse margins but dusky violet and cinnamon-brown color elsewhere. Sharply struck and decidedly appealing for the grade. For NGC census report July 2011 only 51 coins have been graded within this designation and only 13 have achieved the proof 64 grade. The current price guide places a $325 valuation.
1886 Indian Cent (Type 2) PR66 Brown NGC. Easily the most expensive proof Indian cent issue after 1877, and arguably the most important, though an exact mintage figure is unknown. Though both sides show deep peach, blue, and sienna color overall, the obverse also shows a dramatic, near-vertical streak of copper-gold. A mere 46 coins populate the NGC census for this rare variety and only one coin grades higher than this illustrious specimen. NGC price guide warrants a $1,410 valuation.
1886 Three Cent Nickel PR66 Cameo NGC. The last of the proof-only three cent nickel issues, the 1886 was more heavily minted than its two predecessors put together. Still, high-end specimens such as this Cameo Premium Gem are highly prized. Gleaming nickel-white surfaces reveal just a hint of highly attractive golden color. A mere 63 examples Gracie NGC census with only 15 graded higher within this designation. The NGC price guide fails to give a valuation but comparable reference places a $1,050 valuation.
1886 Liberty Nickel PR66 NGC. Dappled green-gold, baby-blue, and lavender hues drape this charming example. Sharply struck with ample reflectivity, which is bound the thrill the avid collector or investor. A total of 691 specimens grace the NGC population graded with only 18 achieving a loftier designation than our specimen. The NGC price guide values this coin at $1,200.
1886 Liberty Seated Dime PR64 PCGS. Boldly impressed and fantastically mirrored through rich cloud-white toning that takes on glints of gold. Well-defined devices have considerable frost and contrast.
1886 Liberty Seated Quarter PR65 Cameo NGC. A charismatic Gem, largely untoned through the fields with fantastic reflectivity and delightfully contrasting frost over Ms. Liberty and eagle. Splashes of amber and violet-gold are visible at parts of the upper rims. NGC census records only 66 examples in this designation and this coin shares the limelight with a mere 14 others. Price guide place is a $2,800 valuation on this gorgeous coin.
1886 Liberty Seated Half Dollar PR62 NGC. Sharply struck with antique-gold color overall that thickens to a mid-tan and violet at parts of the margins. The moderately reflective reverse is edged in delightful cobalt-blue. A slight 189 specimens grace the NGC population report. This PR 62 specimen shares that distinction with 23 siblings. NGC price guide places a $760 valuation.
1886 Morgan Dollar PR65 NGC. Remarkably strong contrast for a coin not recognized as Cameo. Perhaps the gossamer patina over the obverse fields accounts for this. The reverse side has excellent mirrors through light toning, not to mention impressively frosted devices throughout. Only 198 examples grace the NGC grid, a mere 32 grade higher than this present specimen. NGC price guide valuation is $7,090
(Total guide price $15,575)