Description

    Rare 1883 Hawaiian Eighth Dollar, PR66
    One of the Finest Specimens Extant

    1883 12.5C Hawaii 12 1/2 Cents PR66 PCGS. KM-4, Medcalf-Russell 2CS-2, R.7. Struck in silver with a reeded edge. Of the five denominations designed and engraved by Charles Barber for the Kingdom of Hawaii, the eighth dollar--or "hapawalu" in the Hawaiian language--was the only issue not adopted for use. The hapawalu would have required the production of special planchets and would have been the only denomination that did not directly correlate with any unit of currency being used in the United States. Since America already had her eyes set on the Kingdom of Hawaii for strategic purposes, it is likely that the hapawalu was replaced with the dime, or umi keneta, for the convenience of commercial trade between the two nations. As such, the dime, quarter, fifty cent, and dollar denominations were struck in proof and business strike format, but the 12 and a half cent "hapawalu" coins were only struck as proofs. Mint records indicate that 20 pieces were produced, compared to 26 proof specimens of the other four denominations. The difference may be related to six proof sets that were coined at the Philadelphia Mint in September 1883 (Breen, 1988).
    As of (11/08), only 11 hapawalu proofs have been certified by PCGS, not counting a couple of copper pattern versions. Of the 11 coins in the Population Report, all but two examples are graded PR63 or lower. This piece and one other hapawalu--assuming that the two listed do not represent the resubmission of the same coin--are documented at the PR66 level. NGC lists just five grading events.
    Gunmetal-gray patination dominates both sides of this Premium Gem. When carefully viewed at an angle, the prooflike fields glisten and an array of subtle amber, rose, and blue hues are revealed. Owing to a powerful strike, the details are razor-sharp. The absolute rarity of this issue explains why examples rarely come on the market. In fact, this specimen represents only the second appearance of a silver proof hapawalu--not counting a couple of patterns and fantasy pieces--to be auctioned by Heritage since the inception of our online auction archives in 1993.
    From The Deb-Ann Collection.
    See: Video Lot Description (NGC ID# 2C56, PCGS# 10985)


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    7th-11th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
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