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Proof vs. MS 1876 II/II trade dollars

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The 1875 I/I T$ and 1876 II/II T$ are two of the coins in the series worth far less in proof than in MS. So how does one keep from getting burned when buying a circulated example that may turn out to be an impaired proof? If some of the details are worn off, how can we be sure which is which?

 

The 1876 II/II almost always comes prooflike. What should I look for on a circulated '76 II/II so I can be sure it was a business strike and not a circulated proof? A certain die scratch? Different serifs? confused.gif

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Tough question, Shiroh.

 

Since you're asking about circulated specimens, I'd have to recommend that you simply look in the protected areas. On the obv, look at the small field areas between the numerals of the date. On the rev, look in the areas between the wings and the branches and arrows.

 

Those areas would retain their proof surfacing the longest, and would be difficult to fully polish if the dies were for regular strikes.

 

Also, look at the rim. If the rim is still generally square, that's another telltale sign. Circulated proofs don't get rounded rims; they just get them banged up.

 

EVP

 

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BTW, I was almost positive I was going to be high bidder on the coin. I didn't know I'd be up against serious trade dollar collectors after this particular variety, so I figured nearly 5 times bid for the common variety '76-P would bring it home. I was underbidder at $1,650. frown.gif

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