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U.S. Philippines 1904 Mint Set PCGS

February 28, 2011 Sales Archive, Sold - World Coins

½ C – MS66 BN, 1C – MS65BN, 5C MS62, 10C MS64, 20C MS65, 50C MS64, Peso MS64

A lovely set, undoubtedly together since 1904, showing uniform patina that only Mother Nature can provide.

Throughout the past few decades I have had the privilege of handling numerous Philippine Proof Sets from the 1903-1908 era. But I have never seen, let alone handled, a mint set from 1904. How and why this set exists is a story in itself. Even though I haven’t held this set in my hands since 1904 (I was born in 1961), I am pretty sure that what is written below is the case.

In 1903 one of the most important numismatists of the day, Farran Zerbe, entered into an agreement with the U.S. Mint to sell the commemorative gold dollars struck in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. A master showman, Zerbe promptly applied for a booth at the upcoming 1904 World’s Fair to be held in St. Louis the following year. Not satisfied with only one booth in St. Louis, Zerbe opened another one that showcased all of the moneys of the world. So he now had two. One that was strictly for promoting and selling of both the Jefferson and McKinley Louisiana Purchase gold dollars, and another where he displayed, and sold, currency and coins of the United States and its territories, as well as those of the world. Of course the Philippines were now a territory of the United States (call it war booty from the Spanish-American War) and Zerbe made it a point to have examples of the newly minted Philippine coinage for sale there. Common logic at the time was that it was better to have a proof example, rather than a circulation strike, of a coin as they were the “Fleur de coin” of the times.

So Zerbe ordered an unknown amount of the freshly struck 1904 Philippine Proof Sets from the Philadelphia Mint. It appears that even Mr. Zerbe couldn’t anticipate the demand for these novelties. Public demand was so high that Zerbe ran out of his initial order and had to contact the Philadelphia Mint to restock. This where it gets tricky, there was either some confusion, inattentiveness, or some other reason, but the Mint employees sent circulation strikes instead of the proofs that Zerbe had requested. By the time the coins arrived in St. Louis the problem couldn’t be resolved quickly, and Zerbe decided to sell what he got.

Hence, we now have a complete 1904 Philippine Proof Set comprising of all circulation strikes.

PCGS Cert #18647302, 18647303, 18647304, 18647305, 18647306, 18647307, 18647308

PCGS / NGC Population: N/A



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