A silver dollar owned for 40 years by the American Numismatic Association has now been certified as a Zerbe proof 1921 Morgan silver dollar.
The coin has been graded Proof-63 by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
The chain of events that led to its proper identification began with three instructors at the 2015 Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs, Colo., who used the coin in a course.
Michael S. Fey, John Baumgart and Isaac Wallie, who taught “Collecting and Investing in Morgan Silver Dollars: A Comprehensive Approach,” noticed distinguishing marks on the coin and prooflike fields (which is rare for uncirculated 1921 dollars). There were also diagnostic die scratches at the “U” of UNUM and S of PLURIBUS.
“As soon as I saw the coin, I immediately realized it was a Zerbe Proof,” said Fey. “After much discussion with my co-instructors, we agreed it needed to be sent for verification.”
The variety is named after Farran Zerbe, ANA president from 1908 to 1910. He visited the San Francisco Mint in 1921 to see the first striking of Morgan dollars. According to Fey, Zerbe was not pleased with the new design, and it is possible the Mint tried to impress him by producing proof versions of the coin. It is believed Zerbe purchased between 20 and 200 of the coins directly from the Mint.
ANA Museum Curator Douglas Mudd, said, “By making the collection available for classes and to top experts in the field, such as Dr. Fey, it can be more accurately attributed, thereby enhancing the Association’s educational mission.”
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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