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1909 $5 PR67 NGC....

2014 August 5, 7 & 9 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago #1208

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Auction Ended On: Aug 7, 2014
Item Activity: 12 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
5555 N. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018

1909 Half Eagle, PR67
Rare Roman Proof Issue
1909 $5 PR67 NGC. In 1908, when Pratt's Indian Head designs debuted on the half eagle, the Mint once again began to explore new finishes for its proof coinage. Experimental tests with a sandblast or "matte" finish on proof 1907 eagle trial strikes proved promising, and in 1908, it was this finish that debuted on the half eagle. The coins were struck with fresh, unpolished dies and planchets, and were then lightly sandblasted to produce the desired surface texture. The result was a coin with rather dull luster and extremely delicate surfaces, and these proved to be unpopular with the majority of collectors. The following year, then, the Mint introduced yet another experimental proof finish. This time the master hubs were lightly buffed prior to annealing and the proofs were then struck with fresh, unpolished dies made from these hubs. The result was a coin with a distinctly satiny surface texture (or Roman Gold, as it has been called); these proofs were more popular than the dull, sandblast proofs, but their similarity to regular business strikes ultimately led to their discontinuance in 1911, when the dull matte finish was once again employed.

Today, the Roman proofs of 1909 are highly sought-after rarities. Fuljenz, writing in Indian Gold Coins of the 20th Century, states:

"Only 78 Proofs were produced and it is unlikely that more than thirty or so exist. Most of these pieces are in the PR64 to PR65 range. Examples that grade PR66 and higher are extremely rare."

NGC and PCGS combined have certified 11 examples in PR67, and just two finer (6/14), though it is likely these numbers include resubmissions. The coin here offered is truly a marvel to see; the design elements are struck to full definition and the surfaces are seemingly free of any type of disturbance. Glowing honey-gold luster blankets both sides, giving this piece a high degree of eye appeal. This is a rare and important opportunity for the advanced Indian gold specialist.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 25ZS, PCGS# 8540)

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