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Desirable 1846 Eagle, PR64 Cameo, Ex: Pittman
One of Two Outside of Museum Collections

1846 $10 PR64 Cameo NGC. Ex: Pittman. The last of the three 1846-dated proof gold coins offered here as individual lots. These piece were all at one time part of an amazing, original 10-piece proof set, complete from half cent through eagle, first offered in an 1892 auction of 19th century dealer Ed Frossard. The set passed from Numismatic Gallery in 1949 to collector extraordinaire John Jay Pittman, who exhibited the set many times at ANA conventions, along with his complete proof sets dated 1843, 1844, and 1845. According to Garrett and Guth, Pittman considered the run of complete 1843-46 proof sets to be "among his most prized possessions."
This 1846 proof eagle is one of only four known survivors, with two of them in museum collections. The Smithsonian Institution and American Numismatic Society each have a proof example; the third example is the Eliasberg coin. In cataloging this piece, David Akers comments:

"A total of four examples are known and these may represent the entire mintage since there are only four or fewer pieces known of each of the gold Proofs of the 1840's."

The 1846 eagles are elusive even as business strikes, due to their small antebellum mintage of a bit more than 20,000 coins--although the proof coins are immeasurably rarer. An MS61 business strike sold for $22,500 in 2005, setting a record at the time for the issue. Akers wrote in 1988:

"The 1846 is a grossly underrated date in this most underrated U.S. coin series. It is not easy to locate an 1846 Eagle in any condition ... No uncirculated specimen has ever been auctioned and I have never seen one in that grade. In fact, I have only seen one that I graded AU."

Note that the Eliasberg specimen below has traded hands numerous times over the years, and for most of those occasions, the piece was touted as the "only piece available to collectors," since the Pittman coin was usually noted as "New York collection." The Pittman example here thus makes a second specimen available to collectors of this prime rarity. This fully struck proof coin displays a satiny surface texture overall and is remarkably free of mentionable contact, with noteworthy field-device contrast and exceptionally well-mirrored fields. An incredible prize with an important and lengthy pedigree--like all the coins in this set--the present piece should be the subject of feverish bidding when it crosses the auction block. Today's exceptional market for gold coins and rarities should make for interesting bidding.

Condition Census
--PR64 Deep Cameo. Mint Cabinet; Smithsonian Institution.
--PR64 Cameo NGC. Part of a complete original cased proof set complete with gold, the only one known. Ed Frossard (11/4/1892); Numismatic Gallery (1949); John J. Pittman; Pittman Collection (Akers, 5/1998), lot 1712, realized $522,500 for the set. The present example.
--Proof. American Numismatic Society. Displayed at the famed 1914 ANS Exhibition.
--Proof. Elmer S. Sears (12/1921); John H. Clapp (1942); Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; Eliasberg Estate ("U.S. Gold," Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 675, Choice Brilliant Proof-65, $46,200; Don Kagin; Auction '90 (Akers, 8/1990), lot 1922, "Choice Proof 63 or finer," realized $101,750; Worrell Collection (Superior, 9/1993), lot 1670, PR63 PCGS, realized $46,200; Seymour Finkelstein Collection (Stack's, 10/1995), lot 1636, Choice Brilliant Proof, PR65 PCGS, offered by Albanese Rare Coins in March 2005 at $300,000.(Registry values: P1) (PCGS# 88782)

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Auction Dates
January, 2011
5th-9th Wednesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 4,997

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