1883 Hawaii Eighth Dollar, PR63 Cameo
1883 12.5C Hawaii Eighth Dollar PR63 Cameo NGC. KM-4,
Medcalf-Russell 2CS-2, R.7. In a December 1, 2008 article for
Coin World on Hawaiian numismatics, Cindy Brake writes about
the Kalakaua coinage, the first silver issues of the Kingdom of
One of Just 20 Patterns Struck
"The four different denominations originally authorized were the hapawalu (eighth dollar or 12 1/2 cent piece), hapaha (quarter dollar), hapalua (half dollar) and the dala (dollar).
"The 12 1/2-cent piece was never issued for circulation, with just a few Proof examples struck for use in Proof sets. Instead, a dime was issued without legal authority."
The influence of the U.S. Mint, which actually struck the coins, is apparent here; instead of making new planchets for the odd hapawalu size, the Mint could simply use regular dime planchets. (The relationship between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the U.S. was close but growing more contentious by 1883, and within 15 years, Hawaii's monarchy would be overthrown and the kingdom annexed as a U.S. territory.)
Breen records that just 20 proofs were made of the hapawalu, all for inclusion in proof sets, and the design is one of the chief rarities of Hawaiian numismatics. This marks only the third time that Heritage has offered an example of the 1883 Hawaiian hapawalu at auction. Neither of the previous offerings was a Cameo specimen such as the present piece, which shows moderate field-device contrast through toning that is milky over the interiors, with gold-orange and blue-green elements at the margins. Hairlines are visible in the reverse fields and a fingerprint is noted to the left of the portrait, but the overall eye appeal is solid and more than satisfactory in the context of an issue where rarity is far more important than condition.
From The Michael A. Tongg Collection. (PCGS# 810985)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
View all of [The Michael A. Tongg Collection ]
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