1914 $5 PR66 PCGS....
1914 Half Eagle, PR661914 $5 PR66 PCGS. The 1914 half eagle's mintage of 125 pieces reflects a sense of optimism on the part of Mint officials about the year's sales, as in 1913, only 99 specimens were struck. Unfortunately for the officials, said optimism proved unwarranted. As Garrett and Guth note, "Despite the increased mintage, this date is rarer than most other Proofs, and rates as the second most difficult coin to obtain." Many contributing factors have been cited for this low survival rate, including the outbreak of war in Europe and disappointment with the continued tweaks to the matte finish -- in 1914 "slightly coarser," resulting in surfaces "a bit darker," per Garrett and Guth -- but whatever the cause, the subsequent year's production of only 75 half eagle proofs ended the series on a down note.
Rich Orange Color
Rich Orange Color
As may be expected for a low-mintage issue with its survival reduced by low popularity at the time of release, the 1914 half eagle proofs are challenging regardless of condition, but especially so in better-than-Gem grades. PCGS has graded just four coins as PR66, one in PR66+, and none finer (7/13).
True to Garrett and Guth, this piece has richer hues than seen on many examples of earlier dates, orange with touches of lighter apricot. Faintly luminous surfaces showcase sharply struck devices, though the shallowness of the leftmost pendant in the necklace points to how challenging that detail was to bring up fully, even on proofs. Largely undisturbed, a gorgeous Premium Gem.(Registry values: N7079) (PCGS# 8545)
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