Only 460 proofs were coined in 1863, and less than half of those pieces survive today. Perhaps only 150 to 200 examples are still known in all grades. It is believed that most or all of the 460 proofs actually found buyers at the time they were struck, despite the difficulties that were encountered. Dave Bowers explained the ordering difficulties in Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States, A Complete Encyclopedia:
'After July 1862, ordering Proof coins from the Mint became a very difficult business, for silver coins rose significantly above face value (due to widespread hoarding by the public), and the Mint established two price schedules: one price (higher) for payment in greenbacks or bank drafts, and a lower price for payment in coin, like for like.'
Additional valuable information about 19th century monetary conditions, especially during the Civil War, is given in Neil Carothers' book Fractional Money, one of the best and most useful books every published on the topic of subsidiary U.S. coinage
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.