135.8 grains. A famous example of an extreme rarity in the New Jersey series. Just two other specimens of this die marriage have been positively identified: the discovery coin, ex Hall-Brand-Boyd-Ford, and the Norweb coin. This example has apparently long been known, as the 1987 Norweb sale indicated "Four known: Norweb, Craige Estate, F.C.C. Boyd Estate, private Connecticut collection." By the 2003 Ford sale, the narrative had changed to "Two known: this and Norweb:1335 (the Craige Estate and Connecticut Collection specimens do not exist)." We cannot confirm that the Connecticut Collection piece does or doesn't exist, but this one sure does. It is clearly the worst of the three known specimens, but just as clearly identifiable as Maris 23 ½ - R. Both sides have serious surface problems, with heavy scattered roughness on the obverse and bad pitting and granularity on the reverse. The reverse is easy to attribute, as the legend is nearly complete and the shield is fully outlined. Within the shield, sharp lines in both azure and pales are visible. Before this piece went into the ground, it was likely far sharper than the other two survivors. The obverse is more important and more problematical, but it stands up to scrutiny. The first big clue, even before examining the details, is the topography of the obverse: it is so convex as to look domed. This is a hallmark of the die and not one that is shared with others married to reverse R. The Norweb coin was described as having "pronounced obverse die swelling, probably accounting for the rarity of the variety." In terms of specific details unique to this die, your cataloguer notes these: the unique shape of the juncture of the beam to the plow, the relationship of SAR of CAESAREA to the snout, the relationship between the tip of the plow beam and the final A of that word, the relationship between several visible denticles to the plow and beam. This variety will likely remain a great rarity, judging from the near complete collapse of the obverse die and the fact that just three (maybe four) have been found since the discovery of the variety in 1895. Ford's brought $51,750 a decade ago, and it's been a quarter century since Norweb's brought $13,200.
From the Ted L. Craige Collection. Paper envelope with attribution notation included.