General Comments

In 1847 the Philadelphia mint was churning out huge numbers of silver coins. The silver shortage had eased, and the mint was satisfying the pent-up demand. As a result, 1847 is one of the most common dates from the No Motto era, with a mintage ranking of 34th out of 47. Examples are easy to locate in virtually any grade desired. They only become rare in near-gem to gem BU, MS64 or better.

The finest known business strikes are MS65. Four such coins have been graded by PCGS, with one additional example graded by NGC. The two services have graded a total of 20 coins in MS64. 155 pieces have been graded at all levels of mint state (statistics as of February, 2017).

In the proof format a total of 23 coins have been graded. The finest are four PR65 coins graded by NGC. An additional 12 coins have been graded PR64, four by PCGS and 8 by NGC. Itís certain that a few of these are re-submissions, probably including at least one of the PR65 examples.

Mintage 140,750
Proof mintage 20-30 estimated
Mintage ranking 34th
Finest known MS65, PR65
Known obverse dies 3
Known reverse dies 4
Known die marriages 5
Most common die marriage OC-2/ R1
Rarest business strike die marriage OC-4/ R4
Rarest proof die marriage OC-P1 / R6+
1847 examples often show slight strike weakness, usually on the star centrals and hair. Wing feathers also usually show slight weakness. High-grade business strikes are sometimes prooflike or semi-prooflike, but more often frosty. With high mintage, only four business strike die pairings, and only two business strike obverse dies, the dies wore sufficiently to eliminate prooflike surfaces for many examples. Nice prooflike examples can be located with patient searching.

1847 Die Marriages

5 die marriages have been positively identified. Two obverse dies were paired with 4 reverse dies to strike the four business strike die pairs. None of these dies were used for proofs. One proof die marriage was issued, combining a unique obverse die with the reverse die used for almost all original proofs issued through 1854. The following table summarizes the known die marriages.

Click the links below to view the details of the die marriages.

Die Marriage
Obverse Die
Reverse Die
Estimated Survivors
OC-1 R1 1 1846 B 1600
OC-2 R1 1 A 2150
OC-3 R3 2 B 350
OC-4 R4 2 C 150
OC-P1 R6+ P1 1840 PA18
Based on data through 1/31/17

1847 Business Strike Emission Sequence

The obverse die sequences are relatively easy to determine, as noted below:

Emission Order
Die Marriage
1 OC-1 Perfect obverse in early states.
2 OC-2 A faint die crack crosses the base of the date in all states.
3 OC-3 Perfect obverse in early states.
4 OC-4 Unfinished area under the chin has been reduced by die polishing. A faint die crack crosses the base of the date in later states, possibly in all states.

1847 Proof Emission Sequence

With only a single die pair known the proof emission sequence is trivial.

Emission Order
Die Marriage
1 OC-P1

1847 Quick Finder Chart

The four known business strike die marriages pair two different obverse dies with four different reverses. The obverse dies are easy to distinguish due to notably different date positions. The reverse dies present a bigger problem. A relatively high grade is required to conclusively identify the reverse die. Fortunately, none of the die marriages are excessively rare, so only those collectors wishing to assemble a die marriage set or those seeking previously unknown die combinations need to worry. OC-P1 is the only known proof die marriage. It pairs a unique obverse die with the reverse used for almost all original issue proofs from 1840 through 1854.

Die Marriage

Obv. Die

Rev. Die

Right Base
of 1

Keys to Identification

OC-1 1 1846 B JR of LE Obverse:   Base of 1 is JR of LE.
Reverse:   Vertical shield line 1-1 extends lightly to horizontal line 7. All 1847 die states exhibit light die cracks under ONE D and across the top of UNITED STATES.
OC-2 1 A JR of LE Obverse:   Base of 1 is JR of LE.
Reverse:   Heavy die lines slant slightly down to the right at the top of shield recess #1.
OC-3 2 B R QTR Obverse:   Base of 1 is R QTR.
Reverse:   Faint die lines at the top of shield recesses 1, 2, and 3. Vertical shield line 1-1 extends nearly to the top of the shield. 1-2 and 1-3 extend to horizontal line 4. All the extensions are very faint.
OC-4 2 C R QTR Obverse:   Base of 1 is R QTR.
Reverse:   Best identified by the LACK of the markers noted above. No die lines in the upper part of recesses 1, 2, and 3. No upward extensions of the vertical shield lines.
OC-P1 P1 1840 PA JL of C Obverse:   A tiny but strong die dot in the gown just above the left left of the pole.
Reverse:   Defects on A3.

Photo credits:

Obverse and reverse full photos:   NGC PR65, tied for finest known, ex. Gene Gardner, from the Heritage archives.

Copyright © 2015, by Dick Osburn and Brian Cushing, All rights reserved.