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Wonderful Premium Gem Proof 1908 Five Dollar Gold

1908 $5 PR66 PCGS. While the 1908 proof Indian half eagle is not the highest-mintage specimen issue for the series (that distinction goes to the 1910 Roman proofs), the first-year coins are the most prevalent pieces in the numismatic marketplace today. Their availability, combined with the distinctive matte finish that marks the 1908 coins, makes them popular with type collectors of 20th century proofs. As with all proof gold issues, however, the population is high only in a relative sense; despite the certified population figures, examples remain scarce.
Though the matte proofs encountered a measure of disparagement from various quarters, their finish was largely a matter of technical necessity. In a passage from The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Philip H. Morse Collection, the authors quote Acting Superintendent Albert Norris, who asserted that the sunken relief of the Pratt design made polishing, and by extension brilliant proofs, impossible to produce, and so the Mint used European sandblast techniques instead.
The matte texture of the 1908 specimens compounds the difficulty for the collector who seeks an attractive exemplar. The surfaces of such proofs are easily disturbed by even slight contact, and as a result, Gem and better examples are particularly elusive. By contrast, this PR66 coin offers spectacular visual appeal, with finely granular sunset-orange surfaces that show whispers of peach at the margins. Excellent definition with virtually undisturbed surfaces and magnificent visual appeal. Population: 11 in 66, 1 finer (11/07).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# BYJ6, PCGS# 8539)

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Auction Dates
January, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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