1889 Gold $1 (1889 Gold Dollar) NGC PF64 CAM. This premium quality, proof cameo 1889 Gold Dollar has exceptionally strong contrast between its frosted devices and watery, mirrored fields. As expected for a proof coin, it is well struck on both sides with all of the details easily observable. Not a trace of wear is seen on this coin, in keeping with the grade.
While proofs were made for all years of the Indian Princess gold dollars, most range from rare to very rare. Later dates have high mintages; however, many of these coins were used for jewelry and are no longer collectible.
In 1854 the first Indian Princess dollars were made. Their diameters were increased from 13 millimeters to 15 millimeters to make handling easier. For this type, Longacre created a new design. It consisted of a truncated portrait of Liberty facing left wearing a stylized headdress inscribed LIBERTY. She is surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The reverse shows an open, elaborate wreath of corn, cotton, maple, and tobacco with the numeral 1 in the top center. Below it is DOLLAR followed by the date. Unfortunately these pieces did not strike well because the obverse portrait was in high relief and there wasn’t enough of a metal flow to fill the dies on both sides. Longacre had underestimated the power of the coining presses in use at the time. This problem was much more evident on the branch mint presses, which were much older than those in use at Philadelphia. Since the proofs that were made in Philadelphia did not show this weakness, Longacre was unable to anticipate this situation. As a result of the central weakness, the hair or the date was blurry or illegible. Most coins wore down quickly and were sent back to the mint to be recoined into the second Indian Princess type, the current coin.
The 1889 Proof gold dollar had an original mintage of 1,836. In its population report, NGC has 12 at PF64 with 10 better. PCGS has 2 with 8 better. These numbers do not account for resubmissions or crossovers. As the number of proof gold collectors increases, so will interest in this coin because of it excellent appearance and low population numbers.
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