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    1909-O Indian Half Eagle, MS64
    Only O-Mint Indian Five
    Low-Mintage Key Issue

    1909-O $5 MS64 NGC. Variety 1. Only 34,200 Indian half eagles were struck at the New Orleans Mint in 1909 and they were the last gold coins ever struck at the famous Southern facility. Collecting branch mint gold coins was still in its infancy in 1909, so few high-quality examples were saved by contemporary collectors. We suspect a few numismatists, like J.C. Mitchelson and William H. Woodin, obtained examples straight from the Mint that year, as Mitchelson sold his spectacular Uncirculated example to John H. Clapp in June of 1909 and Woodin exhibited the extraordinary Mint State specimen from his collection at the 1914 ANS Exhibition. Such farsighted collectors were definitely in the minority, however, and the 1909-O is an elusive issue in all Mint State grades today. Noted branch mint gold specialist Doug Winter notes, "A properly graded MS63 is rare and an MS64 is very rare. There are around a half dozen Gems, with the finest being the Eliasberg coin (earlier from Mitchelson and Clapp) which is graded MS66 by PCGS." The 1909-O is also in strong demand from branch mint type collectors, as it is the only Indian half eagle from the New Orleans Mint.

    Auction appearances of the 1909-O were few and far between before the 1940s. In his catalog of the Frederic W. Geiss Collection (2/1947), B. Max Mehl commented on the "sleeper" status of the 1909-O in lot 1820:

    "1909 $5.00 Gold, O Mint. Uncirculated. Extremely rare and valuable. Here is another rare Half Eagle which was a 'sleeper' for some time. In 1942, in the Standard Catalog, this coin was listed at $20.00. And as late as the catalog of 1944 it was listed at $50.00, but in a Sale held in 1944, the specimen here offered brought no less than $200.00. And the second specimen offered appeared in the early part of 1946, where a similar specimen brought $275.00. I feel certain that this is another rare Half Eagle destined to become another $500.00 coin in the not distant future."

    The lot realized $250, a good price for the time. The 1909-O is definitely not a "sleeper" today and high collector demand has caused prices to skyrocket for the rare high-grade coins. We can find no auction result for an MS64-graded specimen in the last decade, but the MS63 PCGS example in our New York Signature (Heritage, 11/2013) brought $105,750 and an MS65 PCGS example sold for $517,000 in 2016.

    The present coin is a spectacular Choice example, with well-preserved orange-gold surfaces that radiate vibrant mint luster from both sides. Only minor signs of contact are evident, but a small mark on the reverse, by the M in UNUM, can serve as a pedigree marker. Like many 1909-O half eagles, this coin exhibits sharply detailed design elements throughout and the mintmark is unusually bold, though partially covered by the holder prong. Overall eye appeal is terrific. Census: 7 in 64, 1 finer (9/19).
    From The Kodiak Collection. (Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 25ZK, PCGS# 8515)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    View all of [The Kodiak Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 441

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