1872 proofs are supposed to have two different die pairs but so far only one has been found for every 1872 proof studied. This die pair is the Breen Proof Die #2 and Gifford’s 1872P02 which exhibits repunching to the South on the digits 72 and uses the reverse also used in 1871 which has a diagonal line in the right center reverse field down to the left through the right numeral. Breen mentions this reverse as being paired with his other obverse in Breen Proof Die #1 which I have not found to exist yet. It is described as having the date slanting down and the left base of 1 central. That description can also be used to describe his proof die #2 so I believe that he only every studied the one die pair. If a 1872 proof does show up someday that does not match the one we will describe below then we will have to change it to include the other die pair. For now every 1872 proof studied has all of the diagnostics below. The only variation so far is that some have been found with their reverses rotated counterclockwise a little, while others have the normal orientation.
For study we have a 1872 PR62 PCGS and a PR58 PCGS. All the photos have been taken of the PR62 example shown below. Notice this coin does have the slightly CCW rotated reverse.
First here is a closeup picture of the date area. Notice that Breen’s description for Proof Die #2, “Date more nearly level” can easily apply to this date position.
As far as the comparative height of the date in the field between the bottom of the bust and the tops of the denticles it can be descibed as having the bases of the digits about even above the tops of the denticles. The top of the 1 is closer to the bottom of the bust then the bottom of the 1 is from the top of the denticles. The top right of the 2 is further from the hair curl then its’ base is from the top of the denticles. Although these descriptions are vague when they are combined with the more accurate lines added to the digits in the next photo they will positively identify the date position.
Note: The relative vertical position of the date in the field is an area that I plan on working on a system that can be used more accurately. More work is still needed and improvements are to come!
Adding lines to the digits of the date helps bring more detail to the actual position with relation to its surroundings. First the detail that jumps out at me is that the bottom left serif of the 2 points to the space between two denticles. This can always be seen easily. The rest of these positions can help verify the date’s position. The tips of the left and right bases of the 1 are both almost over the center of the denticles below, The tip of curl is above the center of the 2, or even more accurately over the right edge of the inner loop of the 2. Then for further confirmation the center of the 8 is over the right edge of the denticle below, the center of the 7 is over the space between two denticles, and then finally the right edge of the 2 is over the right half of the denticle below.
Next here is a closeup of the repunching to the South on the 72 of the date. This is not listed as a repunched date variety in Flynn so it does not have a RPD-00# number.
Here is the eye area
Here is the neck area
Here is the reverse field line on the PR62
Here is the same line from a 1871 proof reverse
Here is the die line between the lower denticles
Here are the die chips on the leaves