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It is theorized that the coins came to Stack's from the estate of Miss Adams or of another Mint employee, but that remains unsubstantiated. Sources that we consider reliable have confirmed, however, that the 1964 SMS coins offered via Stack's were from New York coin dealer Lester Merkin or his estate. The silver 1964 SMS coins were all struck on 90% silver planchets. Ex: Heritage (5/2003), lot 5835, part of an unsold five-piece PCGS-certified 1964 SMS set; bought in. The strike is remarkably full on all details, and a sharp wire rim around both sides is also typical. Currently in a "user's private set registry inventory," according to the PCGS database. The "dangling 4" die marker on the obverse is prominent, as are the especially heavy die-finishing lines from (O)F to A(MERICA) and (HAL)F to D(OLLAR). Many blue moons pass before the occasional auction offering: Most examples that have traded over the last few years have done so privately and are now held in very strong hands in long-term collections, unlikely to appear again for decades.Although the usually given date is 1993, we have, in fact, discovered auction appearances at Stack's of these coins dating to 1991.
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Numismatist and coin dealer Jesse Lipka recognized the "1964 SMS" coins as something special, and bought 80%-90% of all the sets that would appear at Stack's in the following few years.
Mint Director Eva Adams was responsible for the world-record-speedy introduction of the Kennedy half dollar in 1964 after President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, and she passed away on August 23, 1991 -- two months after the 1964 SMS coins noted above appeared at Stack's.
Lot 591 in Stack's auction of June 19-20, 1991, was described in this way: AN UNUSUAL 1964 'P' SET 1964'P' Cent through Half Dollar. Nearly all show evidence of die refinishing at the mint.
The 1c is red gold with planchet striations on the obverse, the reverse fully struck up.
Attractive salmon-orange rim toning appears on the upper obverse and lower reverse. Myriad haphazard die polishing lines, consistent with #6 above. Part of a complete consecutively numbered certified PCGS set (cent through half), numbers 3334542-3334546, all early blue-label holders (fall 1998 style), privately traded in 20 via various coin dealer intermediaries.