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## Rare American Coins and Morgan Dollar Branch Mint Proofs

It is widely believed that Philadelphia is the only US mint to produce certified Morgan dollars. This is usually true, but the other 3 mints occasionally hit the proof as well. These coins are struck with extra care, from highly polished dies, one at a time and handled with extra care.

All the dies for Morgan and Peace silver coins were made in Philadelphia. The final steps of basining and polishing are done when the dies arrive at the branches.

Because of the low mintage of branch mint proofs, and how often they are struck, it is generally believed that branch mint proof dies are simply modifications of business dies. The largest known branch mint proof production is 24 examples.

There are many controversies and opinions on this coin. Determining whether a coin is a true mint proof is difficult. These examples often lack the square rims or design elements of Philadelphia proof dollars.

The workers at our branch mint were not met with good evidence. Thus these coins did not receive the attention to detail the Philadelphia versions received.

Proof coins from 3 branches are difficult to distinguish from special proofs like trade strikes. That means they need to be certified by an expert in the field.

The Walter Breen era was considered the ultimate authority on the subject. He has certified these coins since 1963, and is probably the only person competent enough to identify the coins based on the proof from the branch mint.

Montana coin dealer, Wayne Miller would be a close second to Walter Breen in this field. I’m not sure who PCGS or NGC uses for this purpose.

Certification begins with mint records showing that branches have produced certifications within a year. The existence of coins should be well documented to begin with.

Well-dated, proven coins struck at branch mints are:

· 1879-O, 12 pieces, of which 4 are known to exist.

· 1883-O, 12 pieces, of which 2 are known to exist.

· 1893-CC, 12 pieces, of which 4 are known to exist.

· 1921-S, 24 pieces, of which 5 are known to exist.

There are other dates that present true proof, such as 1887-O, 1883-CC, 1884-CC and 1895-O, but there is not enough mint information.

These examples are more than just good evidence. Legal differences of opinion exist among various authorities and experts as to whether these are genuine proofs produced from mint branches or symbolic models.

Dates with good documentation are known as class I proofs produced by branch mints. The 1879-O is the best known, because it commemorates the reopening of the New Orleans mint, closed since 1861.

The 1893-CC was struck at the close of the Carson City Mint. 1921 was struck for coin dealers Farran Zerbe and Henry Chapman. I can’t find any reason to remember the production of the 1883-O version though.

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