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1909-O Half Eagle, MS63
Sharply Struck, Remarkably Attractive

1909-O $5 MS63 PCGS Secure. CAC. The New Orleans Mint made its last double eagle in 1879 -- the first since the 1861-O -- and its last eagle in the form of the Liberty Head 1906-O. It has always been a mystery why the Mint personnel chose to produce the 1909-O half eagles, a production that totaled only 34,200 coins.

If the 1909-O half eagle were of the Liberty Head design with the same mintage, it probably would attract scant notice in that long-running series. Many other branch mint half eagle coinages had much lower production figures and yet scarcely attract notice outside of series specialists.

But the 1909-O half eagles are, of course, of the Bela Lyon Pratt innovative design, introduced for the half and quarter eagles in 1908. They continue the renaissance of American coinage begun by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1907, so memorably documented in print by Roger Burdette and by "the Saint" himself on the gold double eagle and eagle designs. As by far the lowest-mintage issue in the Indian Head series, the 1909-O attracts a vast coterie of admirers.

The present Select Mint State coin has strong mint luster and is minimally abraded for the grade. The mintmark is just a bit weak on the left side but sharp on the right. The original surfaces display lovely reddish-gold and lilac hues interspersed over each side. The strike is remarkably sharp overall for the issue. A small, irregularly shaped planchet flake in field in front of the Indian's mouth is the only mentionable defect. This piece is one of only eight examples PCGS has certified in this grade, with 10 coins finer -- and most of those likely in strong hands (9/13).
Ex: ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2010), lot 3522, where it realized $92,000.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 25ZK, PCGS# 8515)

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Auction Dates
November, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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