Near-Gem 1869 Half Eagle Rarity, Ex: Bass1869 MS 64 NGC. This is a richly defined, notably prooflike representative of this scarce P-mint issue. There is noticeable softness of strike on the eagle's neck feathers, but the balance of the features show razor sharp definition. Both sides glow with golden-rose coloration and the only pedigree marker that we see is a small hook shaped abrasion in the right obverse field near star 4.
The 1869 half eagle boasts an original mintage of only 1,758 pieces and, as such, it is one of the rarest issues of the denomination. The typical survivor is apt to grade no finer than AU. The rarity of this issue is underscored by the fact that Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. chose to represent the 1869 half eagle with a proof example. Eliasberg's proof was previously offered as lot 519 in the United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers & Ruddy, 10/82). The present business strike was off the market for 28 years before it realized $33,350 as lot 1166 in the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection (Bowers & Merena, 10/99). Although NGC reports 4 examples in MS 64 (2/00), we suspect that this is the same coin resubmitted three times. This is, therefore, quite possibly the single finest survivor of this issue. (NGC ID# 25W7, PCGS# 8317)
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