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Coin of the Day

1895 Morgan Dollar PR65 PCGS CAC

"The King of the Morgan's"

The 1895 Morgan dollar proof is one of the stand-out, in-demand rarities in the series for obvious reasons. Namely, there are no Philadelphia circulation strikes to satisfy demand among those assembling date and mintmark sets, and only 880 proofs were manufactured at the facility. Naturally, that disparity between demand and availability means that all 1895 proof dollars offered are subject to spirited competition among enthusiastic specialists. 

Although the Philadelphia Mint supposedly delivered 12,000 business-strike silver dollars in 1895, no coins have ever been positively identified. Research by Roger Burdette argues that all 12,000 coins were indeed struck, but subsequently melted under the terms of the 1918 Pittman Act. Others have suggested the 12,000-coin total noted in the coinage book represented some kind of erroneous entry, possibly a surplus of 1894-dated coins that were not delivered until June 1895. Regardless of which, if either, of these theories is correct, we can say for certain that Morgan dollar specialists will have to acquire a proof such as the present Select quality survivor if they want a representative of the 1895-P production.

This richly toned example displays uniform reflectivity as the surfaces rotate under the light. The strike is typically sharp for the issue with hair curls over Liberty's ear that are virtual fully distinct. Warm champagne-apricot undertones shine through the otherwise rich toning scheme, features that explain why grade-limiting hairlines are not readily evident at most angles. Just a hint of champagne patina is seen on the reverse at certain angles. A few grade-limiting hairlines are also present, but naturally they do not detract from the importance of this Select key date proof. CAC Approved! Your opportunity to own "The King of the Morgan's"!

Offered at $59,995

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1849 $5 Morman MS60 NGC

1849 Mormon Five Dollar MS60 NGC 
Elusive Utah Pioneer Gold Issue Among
the Finest Certified Survivors
Population 1 n MS60!

Soldiers from the Mormon Battalion, returning home after the Mexican War, stopped in California in 1848 and were among the first to discover gold in the region. Their find at Mormon Island in the American River, just downstream from Sutter's Mill, near present-day Coloma, was among the richest deposits of ore found in the early Gold Rush era, yielding several million dollars in gold dust and nuggets. Despite their rich find, the Mormons did not succumb to gold fever, and continued homeward with their holdings, rather than lingering for the coming boom in California.
Arriving in Salt Lake City by late 1848, the soldiers found the local economy was almost devoid of circulating coinage. Initially, Dr. Willard Richards, an official of the Mormon Church, weighed out the raw gold dust and issued it in paper packets containing amounts from one dollar to twenty dollars of the precious metal. This stopgap measure was soon replaced by a plan to issue real coinage sponsored by the Mormon Church. Designs were prepared by November 1848, and deposits of gold dust were accepted starting on December 10, with William T. Follett making the first deposit of 14.5 ounces, for which he received a credit for $232. According to contemporary sources, 46 ten dollar gold pieces were struck in December 1848 by John Moburn Kay, an Englishman who had been employed at his uncle's foundry in Lancashire, England before immigrating to America. This Mormon private coinage was the first in the region, predating the earliest California issues by at least five months, according to Donald Kagin. The design of the coins was formulated by Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Kay, and it is believed they were all dated 1849. Problems soon developed with the equipment, which was built by local craftsmen, and the crucibles for melting the raw gold were broken. Coinage was suspended on December 22, 1848, until new equipment could be ordered and brought in through church agents in St. Louis and Iowa.
 By September 1849, a new mint was ready and dies for $2.50, $5, and $20 coins were prepared. Apparently the old $10 dies were still serviceable. The Mormon coinage was initially intended for local use, but the coins soon spread to neighboring communities, as Salt Lake City had become an important stop for settlers and miners moving west to California. By 1850, examples had reached New Orleans and Philadelphia, where assays showed the coins were all of lower weight and fineness than their federally issued counterparts. Reports of the low intrinsic value of the Mormon coinage spread widely, and most merchants outside the Mormon community refused the issues, or accepted them only at steep discounts. The coins still circulated as a kind of fiat currency in Salt Lake City, due to pressure from the Mormon Church. Five dollar coins of a different design were issued in 1850 and, although most of the mint's equipment was auctioned on August 12, 1850, John M. Kay continued to issue coins on a limited basis through 1851. A final attempt at Mormon coinage followed in 1860, when five dollar pieces using the handsome lion design, with legends in the Deseret alphabet, were issued.
Although most of the Mormon issues were melted in later years, the coins did circulate for some time in the Salt Lake City area. As a result, most examples seen today are well-worn. The designs were simple and in low relief, and none of the issues were properly assayed for coinage, so the soft gold wore down easily. All the 1849 issues employed the same basic design, with a few minor differences between the denominations.