Proof examples of this date are quite different from those of earlier dates. Two Proof versions of the 1921 Morgan Dollar were struck, both apparently at the request of individuals outside the Mint.
The first version, known as the "Zerbe" Proof, was struck for the noted numismatist, Farran Zerbe, who supposedly had a fit when the new Silver Dollars of 1921 turned out to be a resurrection of the Morgan Dollar type instead of the new Peace Dollar type that he had promoted. The exact mintage is unknown but the figures bandied about in the past have ranged from a low of 20 to a high of 200.
Breen offered some die characteristics of the Zerbe strikings, but be wary, as circulation strikes also exist from these dies:
"Obv. Small die scratch up to r. from left tip of serif of left upright of second U in UNUM to border. Left base of first 1 above center of dentil, r. base of second 1 slightly r. of left edge. Central details far sharper than on regular uncirculated pieces. Rev. Very faint recutting visible on left upright of T in UNITED. Horizontal die file marks plainly within ribbon bows and at left and right of them; vertical die file marks at inner berries nearest to left base of N and T in UNITED. Eagle's breast feathers unusually sharp. Brilliant proofs as in 1904 and earlier years, carelessly made..."
1921 Chapman Proof
The second Proof version is the so-called "Chapman" Proof, named after the Philadelphia coin dealer, Henry Chapman, whose name appears on a Mint invoice (dated June 11, 1921) selling him "10 proof silver dollars 1921". For years, the mintage was thought to have been limited to only the ten coins, but now we know that additional "Chapman" Proofs were struck. "Chapman" Proofs are super brilliant and have only 16 berries in the wreath on the reverse, as opposed to 17 on the "Zerbe" Proofs. Additional die characteristics include a hollow area around Morgan's initial on the truncation line on the obverse (caused by die polishing) and light die striations around UN, AM, and RICA on the reverse.
Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, April 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen
"Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins 1722-1977" by Walter Breen
1921 Morgan Dollar Chapman & Zerbe Proofs
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