Lot #15. 1856 Flying Eagle Cent. Snow-3. Proof-65 (NGC).
The September 2008 Beverly Hills Rarities Sale - 9/13/2008
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According to Rick Snow in the 2001 book The Flying Eagle & Indian Cent Attribution Guide, Snow-3 is one of only three die marriages of the 1856 Flying Eagle Cent that was actually struck in 1856. Approximately 500 examples are believed extant, a total that confirms Snow-3 as being much rarer than Snow-9 (a restrike from circa 1858-1860, and the die variety that is typically encountered in today's market).
Numismatic consensus over whether Snow-3 was produced in business strike or proof format has remained elusive. The leading third-party certification services seem to designate 1856 Flying Eagle Cents as one or the other based solely on the physical attributes of the coin in question and not the die marriage. This theory, if true, would explain why NGC certified this particular example as a proof even though Rick Snow states unequivocally that Snow-3 is a "non-proof" variety. The coin is certainly fully struck with mirror-finish fields and a partial wire rim around both sides. On the other hand, the reflectivity in the fields is not as deep as this cataloger is used to seeing on other proof 1856 Flying Eagle Cents, particularly those of the Snow-9 die pair. Nevertheless, we are offering this coin as an NGC Proof-65 and leave any claims its Mint State status as the responsibility of individual bidders.
Both sides are originally toned with pale golden-blue undertones backlighting dominant honey-tan color. There are no bothersome contact marks or other blemishes.