1911 $5 PR66 NGC. The years 1908 to 1915 were years of experimentation at the Mint, as the influence of Augustus Saint-Gaud...
Matte Proof 1911 Half Eagle, PR661911 $5 PR66 NGC. The years 1908 to 1915 were years of experimentation at the Mint, as the influence of Augustus Saint-Gaudens continued long after his untimely death. The introduction of new designs for the nation's gold coinage, from double eagles down through quarter eagles, apparently provided Mint personnel with both the impetus and artistic license to experiment with new proof finishes different from the previous brilliantly mirrored finishes that characterize the later Liberty Head coinage from 1902 onward. In 1908 the Mint introduced a matte, unreflective finish that was unpopular with collectors but saved in considerable numbers. For 1909 and 1910 the Mint dabbled with a so-called "satin" or "Roman gold" finish. The proof half eagles and eagles of 1911 feature a matte finish similar to the 1908 proof pieces, although in 1911 the granular texture was somewhat finer. The more-popular satin finishes likely led more to collectors to order proof gold coins for 1911, only to find that they were of the unpopular matte surface. Nonetheless the issue was produced in considerable numbers, making it second to the 1908 in terms of surviving population.
The present example offers the typical, finely grained surfaces, with a light tan-gold coloration. There are essentially no "luster" grazes or surface distractions visible, save for a single graze in the right (facing) reverse field that is visible only when the coin is tilted "just so" under a loupe. The obverse is completely distraction-free and high-end for the assigned grade. Census: 16 in 66, 12 finer (4/07).(Registry values: N7079) (PCGS# 8542)
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