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Gem Proof 1876 Liberty Half Eagle
Very Rare Cameo Example
Popular Centennial Issue

1876 $5 PR65 Cameo NGC. The 1876 proof Liberty half eagle claims a tiny mintage of just 45 pieces. Small though it is, this figure represents the largest proof half eagle mintage of the 1870s. The coins were all included in gold proof sets, with one group of 20 sets delivered on February 19 and another group of 25 sets delivered on June 13. It seems likely that the earlier group was intended to satisfy the normal demand for the year and the later group was issued in conjunction with the Centennial of Independence celebration in Philadelphia in the summer of 1876. In lot 1401 of the Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), the cataloger notes the high demand for these proof sets:

"Gold proof set: $20, $10, $5, $3, $2 1/2, $1: sharp, perfect proofs-many inquiries having been made for this centennial gold set; we therefore offer it entire."

The business-strike mintage was a minuscule 1,432 pieces in 1876, putting severe date-collector pressure on the small supply of proofs. Probably no more than 15-20 proofs survive in all grades, and at least two examples are impounded in institutional collections. High-quality Cameo examples are very rare.

The present coin is a delightful Gem with sharply detailed design elements and well-preserved yellow-gold surfaces. A pair of insignificant contact marks in the obverse field, near star 5, will serve as pedigree markers for this noteworthy specimen. The richly frosted devices and deeply mirrored fields create a stunning cameo effect when the coin is tilted in the light. Eye appeal is outstanding. Census: 3 in 65 Cameo, 2 finer (1/13).(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28CD, PCGS# 88471)

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Auction Dates
February, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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