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Mint State 1909-O Indian Half Eagle
Only O-Mint Five Struck in the 20th Century

1909-O $5 MS61 PCGS. CAC. The year 1909 is an interesting portrait of American numismatics, with one mint looking backward while the others faced resolutely forward. The New Orleans Mint's production of the 1909-O half eagle would mark the first and last time it would strike an Indian Head gold coin of any denomination, in a series already in its second year. The facility, which opened in 1838, would cease operation in 1909, an outdated throwback, a crumbling shell of its former glory. In Philadelphia and San Francisco, the mints were producing the shiny first-year examples of the new Lincoln cent. The Denver Mint, opened in 1906, was producing gold coins of the new Pratt Indian Head and Saint-Gaudens designs by 1908, and would strike its first Lincoln cents in 1911 and Liberty nickels in 1912. But the 1909-O half eagle, of the Indian Head design, would be the first gold coin issue New Orleans had made since the Liberty Head eagle of 1894. (In fact, it is the only O-mint half eagle struck during the 20th century.)

The 1909-O half eagle is every bit as famous within its series as the 1911-D is among the quarter eagles, even if the 1909-O five is not the only series key. Mint State examples such as the present piece are in great demand, however, and there are far more bidders than successful buyers for every nice example. This piece displays original "crusty" surfaces, a feature seldom seen on this issue. The surfaces are largely yellowish-brown, and each side shows unbroken mint luster. The grade derives primarily from a few larger marks scattered over both sides.
From The Fenn Family Collection.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 25ZK, PCGS# 8515)

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Auction Dates
February, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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