A lovely gem example of this famous Morgan Dollar, the date that is most likely to be missing from a "complete" collection as the only proof-only date of the series and one that is always strong demand. This example stands out among those typically seen for its wonderfully original appearance. Gem proofs are often brilliant, with deep mirrors and the like, but this piece has the appearance of having just been removed from the Mint's original envelope after 100 years. The surfaces are lively and reflective beneath the delightful array of color. Traces of silver brilliance are seen at the centers, giving way to deeply mottled pastel hues of rose, blue, violet and green. Still other areas show warm gray toning. For those who have never seen it, this is exactly what old time proof set toning often looks like. A classic rarity of the American series and often a centerpiece rarity that a collector takes great pride in having acquired.
Numismatic Reflections by Q. David Bowers
A “just right” example of the 1895 proof Morgan dollar. I dearly love this variety and over the years have handled many of them at auction and for private sale. How many, I don’t know, but a guess would be somewhat over 200 appearances, possibly over 300. My first encounter with an 1895 dollar was actually a miss. George P. Williams, a numismatist who lived at 40 Price Street, Kingston, Pennsylvania and who in 1952 and 1953 was a mentor as I was just getting involved in my coin dealership, told me, ruefully, that he would have had an 1895 Proof dollar to sell me for $200. However, just before he met me, Joseph B. Stack had come to town on a buying trip, stopped to see George, and took it away.
During the preparation in the late 1980s and early 1990s of my Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia I did quite a bit of research, including with Henry Hettger in the National Archives, plus consultation with Ken Bressett and others, to abolish the long-held thought that 12,000 circulation strikes were made of the 1895 Philadelphia dollar. The result was that, so far as is known, only 880 coins were made in total, all of them proofs. Remarkably and beyond explanation, there are five different obverse die varieties. Now, there is something to puzzle about.
PCGS Population: 14; 22 finer (Proof-68 finest).