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Press Release - December 12, 2003

Heritage to Auction William Paul Proof-like Coins at FUN

Dallas, TX - Among the highlights of Heritage’s Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Signature auction in Orlando on January 7-10 will be an awesome collection of 46 proof-like coins. These coins belong to Philadelphia dealer William P. Paul, the owner of American Heritage Minting. Mr. Paul has been quietly collecting proof-like coins for several decades, and recently decided to share them with other collectors by auctioning them through Heritage at FUN.

Highlights of the collection include several high grade P-L Mercury dimes including a 1941-S NGC graded MS 68 FB PL, numerous Washington quarters and Walking Liberty and Franklin half dollars denoted as PL, and even a PL 1867 three-cent nickel and 1883-NC nickel.

According to Mr. Paul, “My fascination with proof-like coins began when I was seven or eight years old. My mother’s beauty shop was next to the bank in Glenside, PA. To get me out of her hair she would drop me off with the bank manager and he would take me to the vault and he would let me go through the bags. I would sit on the vault floor and look for one or two dollars that I could best see my face on. The only thing that would upset my mother was when she would pick me up, she would notice how black my hands were. I can still remember staring at these coins. I still do not know why I have this fascination with mirror proof-like coins.

“By the early 1970s I started looking for proof-likes of all denominations. I started full time in the coin business in August 1973. Attending every auction and almost forty coin shows and stopping at hundreds of coin shops on three different continents. This gave unlimited access to find what I call ‘The caviar of business strike coins.’ I believe that proof-likes had come from the ten to one hundred coins struck off of a new die, and some of these coins look like branch-mint proofs!

“The rarest proof-like coins are Peace Dollars. In 1977, I offered five hundred dollars for any gem proof-like of any date. At the New York Metropolitan show in April 1977 I had someone come up to my bourse table and offer me two 1923 Peace Dollars. They were not gems but still absolutely proof-like, so I paid him five hundred dollars for the pair. It was an amazing price for what many people had considered a four or five dollar coin.

“The market continues to grow in knowledge and sophistication from the beginning of the Grading Services in 1986. I would submit some test proof-likes. However, nothing but Morgan Dollars and commems ever graded proof-like on the holder until June of 2003 when NGC started to put ‘proof-like’ on holders of all silver coins that qualified as such.

“While NGC’s standards are very much in the formative stages, soon I believe they will denote proof-like on many of the coins that are not graded proof-like today. For example, at first they would not denote proof-like on any coins with die striations or a polished die, but since October of 2003 I have bought some extremely obvious mirror die striated proof-like Walking Liberty Halves and Mercury Dimes so denoted. Anyone who doubts the proof-like status of the few coins in my collection not denoted as proof-like should take one look at these coins and I believe that the doubt will disappear.

“Some of these proof-likes will be the only ones I have ever seen for the date and mint. Many are spectacular eye candy. The 1942 P mint Mercury is a really unique coin. First the P mint proof-likes of any denomination are rare, but especially so for Mercury Dimes. The 1951-S and 1954-S Half Dollars are as close to proof mirror quality as you could expect. I have not seen anything like them anywhere, for any price.

“Now that proof-like coins are being accepted by the market place and NGC, I believe that other denomination and mintmarks will soon appear. PCGS will be forced to acknowledge proof-likes as well as they will not want to cede that business. I will also continue to search myself, because the thrill I get from finding a date or mint I have never seen and showing it off gives me such an indescribable rush!

“Jim Halperin first saw my collection in February of 1980. He told me, someday we will have an auction and find out what these coins are really worth. I guess now is the time for me to take him up on that. Who knows? Someday, research could reveal that these are specially struck or specimens, as occurred in the 1970s with certain proof-like branch-mint Barber coinage.”

The Collection includes:

1943-S 1C MS66 Prooflike NGC.

1867 3CN MS64 Prooflike NGC.

1883 5C No Cents MS65 PCGS.

1936 5C MS63 Prooflike NGC.

1942-S 5C MS66* NGC.

1935-S 10C MS67* NGC.

1938-D 10C MS67* Full Bands NGC.

1940-S 10C MS66 Full Bands Prooflike NGC.

1940-S 10C MS67* Full Bands NGC.

1941-S 10C MS67 Prooflike NGC.

1941-S 10C MS64 Full Bands Prooflike NGC.

1941-S 10C MS68 Full Bands Prooflike NGC.

1942 10C MS66* Full Bands NGC.

1942-S 10C MS67 Prooflike NGC.

1943-D 10C MS67* Full Bands NGC.

1943-S 10C MS68* Full Bands NGC.

1944-S 10C MS67* Full Bands NGC.

1945-S 10C MS67* NGC.

1945-S 10C Micro S MS67* NGC.

1951-S 10C MS65 Prooflike NGC.

1935-S 25C MS66* NGC.

1935-S 25C MS66 NGC.

1937-D 25C MS67* NGC.

1943-S 25C MS65 Prooflike NGC.

1943-S 25C MS66* NGC.

1945-D 25C MS66* NGC.

1945-S 25C MS66* NGC.

1950-S 25C MS66 Prooflike NGC.

1936 50C MS67 NGC.

1936-S 50C MS65* NGC.

1937-S 50C MS65 NGC.

1942-S 50C MS65* NGC.

1943-S 50C MS65* NGC.

1945-S 50C MS65* NGC.

1946-S 50C MS64* Prooflike NGC.

1947-D 50C MS66* NGC.

1954-S 50C MS66* NGC.

1959 50C MS66 PCGS.

1959 50C MS66* NGC.

1935-S S$1 MS64 NGC.

1948-S 10C MS65 Full Torch Prooflike NGC.

1949-S 10C MS66* Full Torch Prooflike NGC.

1951-S 10C MS67* Full Torch NGC.

1949-S 50C MS66 Full Bell Lines Prooflike NGC.

1938 50C New Rochelle MS65 Prooflike NGC.

1947-S 50C Booker T. Washington MS65 Prooflike NGC.

Catalogs for this sale will be available from Heritage, c/o Sonia Magdaleno, 100 Highland Park Village, Second Floor, Dallas, TX 75205. All of the lots are displayed in full color on the Heritage web site at

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