Lovely 1914 Matte Proof Half Eagle1914 PR 65 NGC. Ex: Trompeter. Of the 125 pieces reported to have been struck eighty years ago, it has been variously reported that as few as 15-20 pieces have survived to the present day. These numbers seem a bit low to us, and are undoubtedly based on Akers only reporting 19 appearances in auctions in the 37-year time span he surveyed for his work on this series. We estimate that a more accurate accounting would be in the range of 35-50 pieces.
The 1914 is the next to last year the matte process of proofing was employed in the U.S. Mint. Breen notes in his 1988 Encyclopedia that the proofs of this year have a coarser sandblast finish than on the previous two years. However, we were unable to tell a qualitative difference as he notes. The finish and color are very similar to the previous 1913 with the primary difference being in color and overall brightness of surfaces. This 1914 does indeed have lighter colored surfaces that lack most of the green-gold color seen on the 1913. It seems to have bit of reddish-gold color instead and is considerably brighter than the previous two years.
A wire rim completely encircles the obverse, and looks as if it is sharp enough to cut one's fingers. The coin is identifiable by the presence of a minute planchet flake between the N of IN and the O in GOD. The sandblast process appears to have been overdone at and below WE TRUST on the reverse, giving that small area a more granular appearance. One of the finest examples known of this 20th century rarity. Population: 4 in 65, with 7 finer (7/98). (PCGS# 8545)
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