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Coin of the Issue: 1921 Chapman Proof Morgan Dollar, PCGS PR64

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez - June 14, 2021

1921 Chapman Proof Morgan Dollar, PCGS PR64. Image is courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

It’s conventional wisdom that the United States Mint did not strike regular-issue proofs for the general numismatic public from 1917 through 1935. But that doesn’t mean the Philadelphia Mint didn’t produce extremely rare, highly coveted proofs for special purposes during that time.

One of the most famous and desirable is the 1921 Chapman Proof Morgan Dollar, which marks among the first Morgan Dollars minted since 1904 and is also a last-year issue, as the Peace Dollar replaced the Morgan Dollar later in 1921. The Chapman proofs were made by the Philadelphia Mint upon the command of a special order by the namesake Henry Chapman, an iconic Philadelphia coin dealer who learned the retail side of the trade years earlier working in the shop of legendary numismatist Captain John W. Haseltine.

The 1921 Chapman Proof Morgan Dollars offer resplendent surfaces and standout strike as compared to the many regular-issue Morgan Dollar Proofs struck during the earlier run of the series from 1878 through 1904. Varying reports exist on exactly how many Chapman proofs were struck. However, documented reports suggest a number between 10 and 15 pieces – in either case a figure just as rare or rarer than the multi-million-dollar 1804 Draped Bust Dollar, which also saw a total mintage of just 15.

Regardless of precisely how many 1921 Chapman Proof Morgan Dollars were struck, they are undeniably rare – exceedingly so. Among this tiny group of rare 1921 Morgan Dollar Proofs is an even smaller collection of specimens that grade above PR63, a reality stemming from seemingly widespread mishandling of these coins over the years. However, a handful grade higher, including the outstanding PCGS PR64 specimen featured here.

Most examples of the 1921 Chapman Proof Morgan Dollar in PR64 trade well into five-figure territory, with one specimen at this level taking more than $100,000 in a 2011 sale. As with any other rare classic like the 1921 Chapman Proof Morgan Dollar, prices vary depending on the quality of the individual example. As always, “book values” are out the door when discussing storied rarities like this that number in the mere double digits.

This stunning PCGS PR64 specimen exhibits deeply mirrored fields against near-cameo devices. The watery surfaces dance in vintage hues of wine and rose, aptly reflecting the century of history behind this prestigious and desirable treasure. This magnificent coin, offered by Vegas Coin Dealer, LLC, is run by Charles Jonath, a third-generation rare coin collector, dealer, and expert. He is the grandson of Trader Sam Frudakis of Trader Sam’s Coins and co-founder of the Long Beach Expo. For more details, call 702-949-7515 or email [email protected].

Article provided by PCGS at
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