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Cameo Proof 1834 Classic Half Eagle

1834 $5 Plain 4 PR63 Cameo NGC. First Head, Large Plain 4, Breen-6501, McCloskey 1-A. Proofs were struck of the 1834 Classic design for the obvious reason that it was the first year of the new No Motto design. However, very few pieces were actually produced and even fewer survive today. Akers estimates that somewhere around 12-15 pieces are known today in all grades. Most of the known proofs of this date (except the ANS and the Smithsonian coins) are struck from a distinctive die pairing. The diagnostics for these coins are: fancy 8 in the date; large 4 close to the curl; 34 close; large arrowheads, the lowest touching the second A in AMERICA; the eagle has a tongue; no berry on the olive branch; the second S in STATES is recut along the lower edge of the middle curve; the I in LIBERTY is higher than the L and B, and tipped slightly left; large leaves on the branch, well away from U, the tip of the lowest leaf of the top pair directly under the left side of the right upright of U. The ANS and Smithsonian coins are from a different die pairing where the 4 is not close to the curl, and the eagle has no tongue.
The devices on each side are intricately detailed, including all the hair curls on Liberty, the star radials, and the eagle's plumage. While this should go without saying on a proof, strike is one of the determining factors that separate the few proof specimens from the large number of prooflike, well struck business strikes of this date. Additionally, the fields are very deeply mirrored with no trace of cartwheel. The surfaces are bright golden-yellow in color with considerable mint frost on the devices, which yields a strong cameo contrast against the unfathomable depth of reflectivity in the fields. A few small contact marks serve to identify this lovely coin, although we have not been able to trace its pedigree. The most noticeable surface flaw is an angling mark on Liberty's chin. A small, irregular area of flaking is seen by star 12, and there is a tiny planchet flaw under the eagle's wing and to the right of the E in UNITED.
As stated above, true proofs of this date are of the highest order of rarity. It may be many years before another unquestioned proof striking of the 1834 half eagle comes on the market, and we urge bidders to be prepared to pay a substantial premium to acquire this important rarity. (#8420) (Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 26CM, PCGS# 8420)

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Auction Dates
January, 2004
7th-10th Wednesday-Saturday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 803

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