The Mint produced an unexciting mintage of 792 proof Morgan dollars in 1893, but the issue was one of the more poorly rendered of the proof Morgans. The dies were spaced slightly too far apart in the press, causing numerous coins to show incomplete details on the central high points. The VAM reference calls the 1893 issue “the most poorly struck Morgan proofs.”
The coin to be offered in our upcoming November 1-3 Dallas Signature Auction is an emphatic exception to this rule, with intricate detail evident on the hair strands above Liberty’s ear and sharp definition on the eagle’s breast. It would be difficult to find a coin with a better strike, even among the proofs of 1898, which are noted for their high quality. The small circulation-strike mintage of silver dollars from the Philadelphia Mint in 1893 (378,000 pieces) has always put added pressure on the supply of proofs to satisfy demand from quality-conscious collectors.
Pedigreed to Simpson, this piece was last seen at auction more than five years ago. Over the past two decades, only a handful of Cameos in this grade have ever appeared at auction, indicating an extremely short supply and feverish collector demand. Any proof 1893 Morgan dollar grading PR67 or better is a notable rarity, although the population of Cameo and Ultra/Deep Cameos in the top grades of PR68 and PR69 is strikingly small. The two finest pieces at NGC are this PR68 * Cameo and an Ultra Cameo in the same numeric grade; PCGS lists a coin each in PR68 Cameo and PR69 Cameo, with two Deep Cameos in the same numeric grades. At least two of these pieces are out of reach in high-ranking PCGS and NGC Registry Sets. We would not be surprised to see this piece added to the NGC Registry.
Extraordinarily colorful toning on both the obverse and reverse undoubtedly resulted in the Star designation on this eye-catching top-grade Cameo. The strong russet hues near Liberty’s ear fade into a ring of blue and lighter yellow on her head, then transition to darker russet, sea-green and rose closer to the rim. The reverse is perfectly matched and equally colorful. As if this artist’s palette wasn’t enough, the surfaces of this coin are stunning and superbly preserved as well, with no trace of handling.
If you demand vibrantly toned coins, then here is one to examine and add to an advanced collection.