This magnificent coin is boldly lustrous bright silver with excellent rose-golden iridescence in varying intensity on both sides. The strike is nothing short of magnificent, and the eye appeal is far above average. An exemplary Proof of the first date in Christian Gobrecht's long lived design type, and the only Philadelphia Mint Seated Liberty dime without obverse stars; the following year, 1838, saw the addition of stars to the obverse design at Philadelphia, but not in New Orleans, which earned its obverse stars in 1839. According to records published by Walter Breen, but which we have not seen ourselves, some 30 or (slightly) more Proofs were produced on June 30, 1837. If true, no doubt most of these went to officials and dignitaries who were not numismatically inclined, the number of collectors on hand locally in 1837 being probably no more than a few. The Mint Cabinet, which acted as a magnet for numismatists, would not be launched until the next year.
We estimate that perhaps 20 or so Proof 1837 No Stars dimes exist, but most are in lower grades. Population reports cannot be relied upon, as a coin of this value is apt to be submitted several times, with the result that possibly two, three or four listings can represent only one specific coin. As related by Dave Bowers in his Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia, in 1993, the duplication of coins in population reports was epitomized at an early date (PCGS being just a few years old) when the same 1854 Seated Liberty dollar was submitted five times, giving a population of five pieces, when there was only one. In a more famous incident, a 1916-D dime was submitted 24 times until, on the 25th time it earned the grade that the owner wanted. That said, population reports are indeed desirable and valuable, but they cannot be used as a guide to the true net rarity. This lovely and rare Proof Seated dime will be a great addition to a first class type set of United States coins as well as a specialized cabinet of Seated Liberty issues.
NGC Census: 12 in 64; 4 finer.