1873 $5 Closed 3 PR65 Deep Cameo NGC. Ex: Garrett. Early in 1873 it was noticed that the knobs on the 3 in the date made th...
Finest Known 1873 Proof Half Eagle, PR65, Ex: Garrett1873 $5 Closed 3 PR65 Deep Cameo NGC. Ex: Garrett. Early in 1873 it was noticed that the knobs on the 3 in the date made the date appear to be 1878 rather than 1873. As a result, the knobs were attenuated giving the date the proper appearance of 1873. However, many denominations had already been struck with the so-called Closed 3 date logotype, and in fact, certain issues were only struck with the Closed 3 in the date. In 1960, the research in this area was published by the late Harry X Boosel in his cleverly titled book 1873-1873.
Only 25 proof half eagles were struck in 1873, all of the Closed 3 date variant. But one has to wonder if all 25 pieces were actually distributed to collectors as so few are known today. Only 9-12 individual proofs are actually believed extant as recognizable proofs. This particular piece appears to have been purchased directly from the Mint in 1873 by Foster Ely of Elyria, Ohio, according to correspondence in Appendix I of the Garrett I Auction. The fields are exceptionally deep in their mirrored reflectivity and close examination reveals the familiar rippling, orange-peel effect commonly encountered on proof gold from the 1870s and 1880s. Standing in stark contrast to the mirrored fields are the thickly frosted devices, the combination of each giving the coin a pronounced cameo effect. For pedigree purposes, we note a tiny planchet flake out of the field above the E in FIVE on the reverse. It was this tiny defect that convinced us this is the same coin that was in the 1998 FUN Auction. Exceptional quality and rarity combined in one amazing coin.
Presumably obtained from the U.S. Mint by Foster Ely of Elyria, Ohio in 1873; W. Elliot Woodward; T. Harrison Garrett; Garrett I (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/79), lot 485, where it brought $21,000; 1998 FUN Sale (Heritage, 1/98), lot 7847, where it realized $37,500.(#98468) (Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28CA, PCGS# 98468)
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