When last appearing at auction, this was described by Bowers and Merena as, “ A superb gem Proof with delicate silver gray toning and golden brown iridescence around the periphery. Every design element is extremely sharp, the hair and drapery are fully delineated, the stars are generally sharp, and the eagle is fully detailed. An aesthetically desirable example with deeply reflective fields and lustrous cameo devices. This example is listed in our silver dollar Encyclopedia as the Boyd Specimen holding the top spot in the census.”
The Boyd-Cardinal specimen is not only the single finest known, it is also the only 1802 Proof with significant cameo contrast. Struck from the same reverse die as the Class I 1804 Dollars (“Originals”) and a new obverse die, die evidence demonstrates that the 1802 Proof Dollars were struck after the Class I 1804 Dollars but before the 1801 or 1803 Proof dollars, and also before the Class II and Class III (“Restrike”) 1804 Dollars. Due to the clearness of cameo contrast of the Boyd-Cardinal specimen, it may possibly represent the single first strike from the 1802 proof dies, which would then place it as the single first proof dollar struck after the Class I 1804 Dollars.
The census of known examples is as follows:
#1: Boyd-Cardinal Collection Specimen. Conservatively graded by PCGS as PR-65+ Cameo, and clearly premium for the assigned grade. Many experts have stated their belief that this specimen deserves the grade of PR-66CAM, and, consequently, it was re-submitted for grading several times during the year 2004. PCGS assigned the grade of PR-65CAM each time, and as of this date, at least two of this coin’s PCGS certificates are still active within the PCGS population report.
#2: Norweb Specimen. Earlier graded by PCGS as PR-64 and later re-graded as PR-65, a relatively untoned specimen (having been recently dipped), displaying multiple planchet pits and no visible cameo contrast.
#3: Flannagan Sale Specimen. Graded by PCGS as PR-64, a lightly-toned specimen displaying numerous hairlines and negligible cameo contrast.
#4: Amon Carter Specimen. Initially graded by NGC as PR-63, this specimen displayed deep mottled toning and no cameo contrast. The coin was later “conserved,” with the toning immensely lightened and slight cameo contrast revealed. After conservation and re-submission, the coin was graded by PCGS as PR-65 Cameo, and was sold at auction by Heritage in April 2008 for the sum of $920,000.
Provenance: Capt. John W. Haseltine; unknown intermediaries; Frederick C. C. Boyd, “World’s Greatest Collection” (Kosoff, January, 1945): Lot 119; Milferd H. Bolender, 183rd Sale (Bolender, February, 1952): Lot 175; New York Collection; Groves Collection (Stack’s, November, 1974): Lot 443; Four Landmark Collections Sale (Bowers and Merena, March, 1989): Lot 1981; Superior Galleries, sold into the Long Beach Connoiseur Collection (Bowers and Merena, August, 1999): Lot 245; Superior Galleries; Private Southern California Collector; The Cardinal Collection