1909-O $5 MS64+ PCGS. Variety 1. Ex: Simpson. The ...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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1909-O Indian Half Eagle, MS64+
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.
Low-Mintage Branch Mint Key
Only O-Mint Indian Five
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.
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