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

    1909-O $5 MS64+ PCGS. Variety 1. Ex: Simpson. The New Orleans Mint struck coins for the last time in 1909, when a small mintage of 34,200 Indian half eagles was accomplished. Bela Lyon Pratt's innovative reduced relief Indian design had been introduced on the half eagle the year before, but no half eagles were coined at the famous Southern facility in 1908. Accordingly, the 1909-O is the only Indian half eagle from the New Orleans Mint and a favorite choice of advanced branch mint type collectors. Few high-quality examples were saved by contemporary numismatists, making the 1909-O the most elusive issue of the series and an important key for the 20th century gold specialist.

    Auction appearances of the 1909-O are difficult to locate before the 1940s and the issue was not on most collectors radar before then. 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 a strong price of $250. Of course, prices have continued to rise exponentially in recent years and recent sales include the 2006 prior appearance of the coin offered here, which realized $175,375.

    The present coin is a Plus-graded Choice example that ranks comfortably in the Condition Census for the issue. PCGS has graded only three finer coins, two in MS65 and a single example in MS66, while NGC lists no coins finer than MS64 (4/20). The design elements are sharply detailed throughout and the mintmark is unusually bold on this example. The pleasing orange-gold surfaces are impeccably preserved and vibrant mint luster radiates from both sides. Overall eye appeal is terrific for this important branch mint key. Population: 8 in 64 (1 in 64+), 3 finer (4/20).
    Ex: Baltimore Auction (Bowers and Merena, 3/2006), lot 2331, realized $175,375.

    Coin Index Numbers: (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.

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    18th Friday
    Auction Dates
    6th-10th Wednesday-Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    51 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 159
    Auction Type
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