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Reopened ‘O’ Mint made proof dollars

 New Orleans Mint (Image courtesy

New Orleans Mint (Image courtesy

Branch mint proofs are unusual. Why did the New Orleans Mint strike proof silver dollars in 1879?

It has been suggested the proofs were struck to mark the reopening of the New Orleans facility, which had closed during the Civil War. The 12 reported examples statistic was first published in the 1890 Proskey-Smith auction of the R. Coulton Davis collection.

Is it true there are unofficial two-headed strikes of the 1879 Morgan silver dollar?

Unofficial is almost an understatement. John Pinches Ltd. in England produced transfer die two-headed 1879 silver dollars in copper and copper-nickel in an ill-fated effort to obtain a contract to strike U.S. coins commercially. Several examples later entered the coin collecting market through the 1947 auction of the John Harvey Pinches estate.

How can I tell if an 1893-S Morgan dollar is genuine other than by trying to see if the mintmark will fall off?

Diagnostics for this coin include a die line through the central top of the “T” and “rabbit ears” die chip in the left foot of the “R” in LIBERTY, with the date slanting up to the right. Authentication by a well-recognized third-party service is considered to be mandatory for this coin.

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This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .

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