Our October 31-November 2 New York auction boasts a Proof-65 1846 dollar, one of the finest-known examples and the second-finest proof 1846 dollar known at PCGS. Further, it is the Breen-5436 variety, with a noticeably double-punched date and remnants of the secondary digits below the primary numerals, far below their correct position. The coin is splendid, with watery-deep mirrors and vivid iridescent patina on both sides. Wide, square rims surround the fully struck surfaces. Shades of orange, blue, lavender, and gold cover the glittering fields and lightly frosted devices. A few light lines are visible with a glass beneath the toning near star 13, but they do not detract in the least from the overall visual impact.
Although few proof dollars were issued by the Mint dated 1846, Q. David Bowers reports that perhaps as many as 40 to 60 proofs were struck. Robert Julian suspected some well-heeled customer simply purchased several, or extras were struck for future sales in upcoming years.
The Mint was pointedly quiet about the number of proofs struck for each pre-1858 date. All early proof Seated dollars are undoubtedly rare, and most are restrikes made later than their stated date. Many share a “common reverse” with a defect at the final A of AMERICA above the right edge of the crossbar and on the adjacent right upright. Duncan Lee in a notable CDN Newsletter considered all such coins with the shared reverse to be restrikes. He mentions the dramatically recut date and rates the 1846 issue as the ninth scarcest of all Seated dollar proofs.
Somehow, the estimated mintage has not translated to the grading services, with PCGS and NGC combined reporting just 25 grading events. PCGS estimates only 20 to 30 proofs survive for the date. Among those that do exist, PR64 seems to be the highest somewhat-attainable grade, with just one coin certified finer than the present piece by either service.
PCGS-Certified Seated Liberty Coins Currently Available on eBay