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    1911-D Indian Half Eagle, MS64+
    Low-Mintage Series Key
    High Condition Census Example

    1911-D $5 MS64+ PCGS. CAC. Aside from the double eagle denomination, mintage of gold coins was quite limited at the Denver Mint in 1911. The quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle of this date are all key issues in their respective series, primarily because of their small production totals. While the 1911-D quarter eagle is the most famous of these elusive Denver Mint issues, its half eagle and eagle counterparts are actually much rarer, especially in high grade. This disparity is explained by the fact that many more quarter eagles were saved at the time of issue. Although the low mintages (72,500 pieces in the case of the half eagle) should have attracted collector attention, the 1911-D half eagles and eagles were overlooked by contemporary collectors and few examples were preserved for numismatic purposes. The combination of low mintage and poor survival rate makes the 1911-D half eagle a sought-after rarity in high grade. In his Indian Gold Coins of the 20th Century, Mike Fuljenz notes the 1911-D half eagle "must be considered among the prime rarities among all 20th century United States gold coinage in MS65 and higher grades."

    One collector who did not overlook the 1911-D half eagle was Edward B. Morgan, a lawyer and numismatist who conveniently lived in Denver. Morgan faithfully acquired an example of each denomination coined at the Denver Mint every year, from cent to double eagle, and recorded the date on which each denomination was first struck. He exhibited his collection of Denver Mint issues at the 1914 ANS Exhibition, along with a number of Colorado territorial issues and patterns. According to his records, the 1911-D half eagle was first struck on April 24, 1911. We believe Morgan maintained his collection until his death in 1935 and his coins were later purchased by F.C.C. Boyd, in 1937. By the time Boyd sold his gold coins through Abner Kreisberg and Abe Kosoff's Numismatic Gallery in January, 1946, the elusive nature of the 1911-D had become clear to series specialists and the cataloger singled out the coin in lot 625 as "scarce," with a higher estimated selling price ($25) than any other Denver Mint Indian five. The coin actually realized $42.50, a remarkably strong price at the time. Today, the record price realized for the issue is $299,000, brought by the spectacular MS65+ PCGS specimen in Jim O'Neal's collection, sold by Heritage Auctions in 2011.

    The present coin is a Plus-graded Choice example, with sharply detailed design elements throughout. The well-preserved orange-gold surfaces show a few highlights of rose and radiate vibrant, frosty mint luster on both sides. Overall eye appeal is terrific. Theoretically, this might be the very coin Edward B. Morgan obtained from the Denver Mint the day it was struck. It is probably the third-finest known specimen, by virtue of its Plus designation, with only the magnificent O'Neal and Simpson coins clearly finer. This piece should find a home in the finest collection or Registry Set. Population: 19 in 64 (1 in 64+), 2 finer. CAC: 7 in 64, 1 finer (3/17).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 28DR, PCGS# 8521)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2017
    26th-30th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 670

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