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1913 Indian Five Dollar, Matte PR67
Only One Finer at NGC

1913 $5 PR67 NGC. The 1913 gold proof sets debuted in the same year as the Buffalo nickel proofs, but the Mint mostly issued the gold, silver, and minor coinage proof sets separately, along with proof gold singletons as needed. And in any case, the few contemporary collectors of proof gold had apparently tired of the matte proof finish. Only 99 pieces were recorded issued, and it is a good bet that some were melted as unsold, a common Mint practice of the era. The authorities at PCGS estimate that 50 to 65 examples survive today, a good bet given the 21 certified in all grades at PCGS and the 29 at NGC, most of them -- 23 pieces -- falling into the PR66 grade level.
Garrett and Guth note in the gold reference that the 1913 half eagle has the "same fine sandblast finish seen on the 1912 issue" but more interestingly comment that the "overall rarity of the issue places it as the third-rarest of the eight-coin series."
This piece displays a medium mustard-yellow color that is a bit lighter than most matte proofs of the issue we have seen. It takes extensive perusal with a good loupe to find any flaw in the surfaces, no matter how minuscule, that might serve as pedigree identifiers. And minuscule they are, but at the right angle we find a trio of tiny luster grazes, one on the upper wing of the eagle and two more in the field nearby. They are inconsequential compared to the enormous aesthetic appeal and importance of this historic coin. Matte proof gold is the numismatic connoisseur's caviar, and this upper-end piece may soon disappear from the market for decades, if not from this offering, from a future one. Census: 9 in 67, 1 finer (5/11).(Registry values: N10218) (PCGS# 8544)

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Auction Dates
July, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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