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United States Proof Coins -- Volume IV: Gold


SKU: 11124
AUTHOR/EDITOR: John W. Dannreuther
ISBN 13: 9780999896808
ISBN 10: 0999896806
EAN: 9780999896808
BARCODE: 9780999896808
Regular Price: $250.00
Sale Price: $174.99

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While numbered "Volume 4," United States Proof Coins -- Volume IV: Gold is really the first volume to be issued in what is ultimately planned to be a four volume series on United States proof coins.  For the author, this series is the culmination of a life-long fascination with the Mint’s pinnacle of their output – the best examples of the coiner’s work – proof coins.  With these four volumes (this work on gold, United States Proof Coins -- Volume II: Nickel and forthcoming similar treatises on silver and copper), the author hopes to cause a renaissance in collecting proofs.
These four works will systematically identify every known Proof variety issued by the United States prior to 1916. By doing this, collectors will then be able to assemble variety sets of Proofs just as they do for large cents by Sheldon and Newcomb varieties, half dollars by Overton numbers, and the other circulation series that have been extensively studied and have had their varieties enumerated.  For collectors interested in proof coins from later years, United States Proof Coins 1936-1942, Eightieth Anniversary Edition covers the next period of proof coins issued from 1936 to 1942.  Finally, The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of Modern United States Proof Coin Sets provides coverage of later proof set years.  

"Volume 4" actually consistes of two books covering proof gold coins which are among the most sought after and desirable issues in United States numismatics.  The first book, Part One, covers gold dollars to gold four dollar coins.  Part Two covers half eagles to double eagles.  The two hardbound books -- consisting of over 1000 pages between them -- come packed in a matching slipcase that holds and protects the two-volume set.

Before this series by Dannreuther, the only full-length treatise on United States proof coins was Walter Breen’s 1977 encyclopedia that later was revised in 1989. Although that seminal book moved the scholarship light years forward, its main drawback was its lack of illustrations. In addition to bringing forward new information, this series corrects for the lack of illustrations in pior works.  
This volume on Proof gold has nearly 2,000 illustrations and every proof gold variety either has a full color photograph or a close-up illustration of its pertinent features. This is only possible because of digital photography and software for a work of this magnitude. Details that previously only could be verbally described is now illustrated with such clarity that words are now secondary. Noting the date’s position by where an imaginary vertical line aligns with the left base of the 1 digit aligns with a dentil below it is still noted in this work, but many date positions have obvious other differences. Micro photographs of date positions illustrate these differences and allow easy identification of varieties.
After 1840, nearly all United States coins were produced from completely hubbed dies. Thus, the differences in proof and circulation strike dies after this point often are the position of the hand-punched dates and little else. Reverse dies are even harder to differentiate, as the ones from Philadelphia (the majority of the proof coins in this book) usually differ only in post-hubbing features. There is no mintmark in a different position for Philadelphia proofs to distinguish varieties, as they do not have them!
In the past, collectors wanted one example of each date and proofs were the ultimate collector coins. Today, collectors want both proof and mint state examples, so proofs have lost some of their luster, as many collectors today have concentrated on rare circulation strike issues or common issues in very high grades. Admittedly, some of this focus is deserved, as there are many rare issues and there are numerous common-date coins that are very difficult to find in ultimate states of preservation. However, the collectors of the past appreciated the “Coiner’s Caviar” as proofs were the best coins produced by the United States Mint and those throughout the world. Today, nearly every mint in the world produces proof coinage – the ultimate examples of their coinage. Mints are proud of their coinage and proof coins are the ultimate examples of their output. The care in producing and preparing the dies and planchets results in nearly perfect coins. They are miniature works of art!

Binding: Hardcover
Edition: 1st
Publication Date: August 2018
Size: 8.5x11
Pages: 1031

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