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Closed 3 1873 Half Eagle, PR64 Cameo

1873 $5 Closed 3 PR64 Cameo NGC. CAC. Dr. Robert J. Loewinger, among other proof gold authorities, notes in Proof Gold Coinage of the United States that all 1873 proof five dollar coins were of the Closed or Close 3 variety; considering that such proofs were struck in the first couple of months in the year, as a rule, it is only logical that they would be of the earlier variety. The recorded mintage of the date was just 25 pieces, and most collectors view the 1873's as similar to preceding issues.
In his Proof Encyclopedia, Walter Breen states that "there is more information available about the proofs of this year than about most others of the period; for much of it I have to thank Harry X Boosel, who has made a special study of the date." (The late Boosel, better known to the numismatic community as "Mr. 1873," was fascinated with the date and contributed much knowledge through his dedication.) Breen notes that for the proof 1873 half eagle, unlike the three dollar and smaller denominations, restrikes at a later date are not believed to have been struck (he claims "no hint" of them), and so the mintage of 25 pieces stands and has reduced to an appreciably smaller pool of survivors.
This is one such survivor, boldly contrasted with yellow-gold mirrors that are downright flashy. Rich frost accentuates the sharp curves of the exactingly struck devices. Minimally hairlined for the grade with copper spots noted to the left of the eagle and on the rim above the TA of STATES; this last may serve as a useful pedigree marker in the future.
From The Henry Miller Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 3ZLN, PCGS# 88468)

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January, 2011
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