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Lot
4683

1862 $5 PR64 Cameo PCGS. The 1862 proof half eagle is a coin that has a two-track rarity factor--as a proof and also as a h...

2005 September Long Beach Signature Auction #384

 
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Auction Ended On: Sep 23, 2005
Item Activity: 11 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Description:
Extremely Rare 1862 Half Eagle, PR64 Cameo PCGS
1862 $5 PR64 Cameo PCGS. The 1862 proof half eagle is a coin that has a two-track rarity factor--as a proof and also as a high grade example of this date, whether a proof or a business strike. As a proof, it is an unquestioned rarity as only 35 pieces were struck. Estimates in the past have speculated that twice as many proofs are known today than have been certified. In the Eliasberg catalog (1982) Bowers stated that "only a dozen or so can be traced." Breen (1988) lowered the bar somewhat when he estimated that "fewer than 12 traceable." We believe that probably half that number, around 6-8 pieces, may actually exist today outside institutional holdings.
Business strike 1862 half eagles are also very rare, with only 4,430 pieces struck. After the suspension of specie payments two years previously, there was little need for the government to strike coins that would not circulate. As a result, very few 1862 fives survive today and only two pieces (the same coin?) have been certified in mint condition. This, of course, places even more pressure on the few proofs known. Proofs of this date were struck on February 16, and this piece, as with all proof 1862 fives, shows a distinctive "center dot" on the third pale gule of the shield. This particular piece has been off the market for several decades and represents an opportunity to acquire a coin that has largely been forgotten by modern-day numismatists. It has two pedigree identifiers that will aid researchers when this piece is offered again in the future: an alloy spot is located in the left obverse field a couple of millimeters out from Liberty's chin, and another spot is seen halfway down Liberty's lovelock. Lightly hairlined, the fields are deeply reflective and the devices display considerable mint frost that gives the coin a pronounced two-toned appearance. This is the first 1862 proof half eagle we have offered for sale at public auction. The only other proof we have handled was a part of the Trompeter Collection, and all the proof fives in that collection were sold en masse to a dealer. For the collector who has been waiting for this date to become available, this may be the only opportunity for several years to acquire this major rarity.(#88452) (Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28BX, PCGS# 88452)

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