1876-CC Specimen-66 BM (Branch Mint) PCGS. CAC. Fortin-121b. Type I Reverse.

Currency:USD Category:Coins & Paper Money / US Coins - Dimes Start Price:33,500.00 USD Estimated At:100,000.00 - 325,000.00 USD
1876-CC Specimen-66 BM (Branch Mint) PCGS. CAC. Fortin-121b. Type I Reverse.
135,000.00USD+ (23,625.00) buyer's premium + applicable fees & taxes.
This item SOLD at 2017 Mar 09 @ 20:05UTC-5 : EST/CDT
You get 1% of your purchases back as
credit towards your next two Kagin’s Auctions!
1876-CC Specimen-66 BM (Branch Mint) PCGS. CAC. Fortin-121b. Type I Reverse.
“Spectacular” is the operative word here! A bright light source provides a good starting place for the visual treasure that unfolds before your eyes. The dominant obverse iridescence is electric blue with peripheral traces of sunset orange and crimson, while the reverse is chiefly blue at the center with a surrounding glow of rose, orange, and crimson. The central devices – Miss Liberty and the wreath in particular – are frosted and boldly rendered. All of Liberty’s hair and other details are bold and full, including such dainty details as the ripples in the base of her rock and her sandaled foot. Indeed, if one is so inclined, the individual kernels of corn and wheat are all present and ready to be counted on the needle-sharp reverse.

The fields of this coin are sensational when admired in-hand, and to examine them in magnified detail is a treat all its own. The watery reflectivity is enhanced by the gorgeous toning, leaving no doubt of the depth of the mirrored fields. Crisp die-polish lines attest to the care with which the dies were prepared.

The coin’s rim is fascinating. Evidently, the coiners at Carson City used most or all of the coining press’s full 120-ton load when striking this piece – it boasts full knife rims on both sides, and, as a result, is at least double the thickness of a regular dime.
The specially-struck 1876-CC dimes have been a mystery to numismatists for the last 50 years. Kagin’s sale of November 27th, 1971 offered an example catalogued as an “1876-CC PROOF PRESENTATION PIECE”, which was identified as having realized $1,100 some three and a half years earlier; however, unusual 1876-CC dimes began to turn up in the late 19th century.

The first of these, weakly struck on a nickel planchet, was offered as Lot 318 in New York Coin and Stamp Company’s Woodside Sale of Patterns in 1892. Since then, a pair of copper dies trial pieces have surfaced. The first of these resided in Waldo Newcomer’s unparalleled collection before being sold to King Farouk, while the second first appeared in the 1980s, offered by Bowers & Ruddy.
In addition to these, a small group of well-struck, heavily striated 1876-CC dimes have been identified as Specimens at NGC. These pieces have a fabric that is clearly special; however, they more closely resemble the 1859 Transitional Dimes (J-233) than a Philadelphia proof.

A careful comparison of the present coin and one of the striated specimens was conducted with Ron Guth several years ago, and both the author (DJM) and Guth concluded that the two coins must have been struck from two different obverse dies, due to apparent, mutually exclusive die chips within Liberty’s dress. John Dannreuther, examining another striated example had come to the same conclusion.

While cataloguing this piece, the author (DJM), John Dannreuther, and Gerry Fortin conducted a detailed die study of photographs of all of the available pieces (both PCGS coins, both copper dies trials, an NGC SP66 and an NGC SP65, as well as photos of business strike Fortin-121s, believed to have been struck after the presentation pieces). The conclusions were surprising, but paint a fascinating picture of the Carson City Mint’s efforts to strike special coins for presentation purposes. What follows is that analysis:

Fortin-121 Business Strikes/Copper Dies Trial Pieces – This die state was originally identified as Fortin-121a, assuming that the business strikes were struck using the discarded proof dies; however, none of the various die chips seen in the specially-prepared coins are present. There is, however, a light die crack running through the mintmark that is visible on the presentation pieces, this crack probably formed when the mintmark was added to the reverse die. The copper Dies Trial coins appear to be from this state of the dies.
Fortin-121a Specimen Strikes – The obverse and reverse dies are lapped, imparting a prooflike, diagonally striated appearance. Small die irregularities are apparent on Liberty’s left leg.
Fortin121b Presentation Pieces – The devices appear to have been acid treated to impart a cameo finish, obliterating some of the die irregularities seen on F-121a. The dies also been re-lapped at a slightly different angle and polished. The most noticeable feature of this die state is a substantial die chip or irregularity that is plainly visible on Liberty’s right leg at the knee.

The PCGS Population Report reveals only two grading events for the issue, including the present beautiful gem and another at MS-66+ – both examples are of the Fortin-121b die state. PCGS has repeatedly declined to designate any coins from the Fortin-121a die state as Branch Mint Specimen.

The demand for Branch Mint Specimen coinage has increased in lock step with the advancement of serious numismatic research, and its availability to serious collectors. The present Carson City dime, a tiny masterpiece of the coiner’s art as well as an historic link in the chain of Mint-made specialty items, is among the finest and most technically perfect examples of die preparation and utilization today’s collectors will ever be privy to. With its status as one of the rarest of all 19th Century proofs - even including known Fortin-121a specimens, it’s twice as rare as the legendary 1894-S dime - there can be no denying the importance of the present coin. It could very well set a record price for a Liberty Seated dime at public auction, and we look forward to the prospect!

PCGS Population: 1; 1 other certified as MS-66+.

PCGS Coin Facts