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Determining MS/PF designation on 1903-04 Philippine Proofs?

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I was wondering if there is a definitive way of determining the difference between Proof and Business strike Philippine Proofs from 1903-08. I'm not talking about brilliant, deeply reflective pieces which are obvious.


A dark brown 1903 or 1904 Half or One Centavo with no mirrors or luster is basically indistinguishable. Or some Five Centavo business strikes come extremely Prooflike while certain Proofs come kind of dull.


Any ideas? Thanks!

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OK, I actually did think to ask - is viewing the edge of the piece indicative at all? You know how it goes for US-issue matte proof cents and nickels, squared-off, razor sharp rims, whereas the business strikes are beveled a bit?


Way back when I worked for my local dealer I was going through a pretty decent old collection to identify, grade and price the stuff, when I saw a super AU 1909 Lincoln that seemed out of place somehow - it wasn't the color, which was a perfect even brown - it had seen some circulation - but in examining the edge and other diagnostics, I'm pretty sure even now that it was an impaired matte proof. My boss didn't ever say if he agreed with my assessment, but he did set the piece aside; I don't know what happened to it.


Liberty nickels also sometimes suffer from this diagnostic, with prooflike business strikes.


Were proof dies then used for business strikes? That never helps.

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