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    1911-D Five Dollar, MS65+
    The Finest Example Certified of
    This Major 20th Century Rarity

    1911-D $5 MS65+ PCGS. CAC. The 1911-D quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle are all key issues in their respective series. In the case of the half eagle, high-grade 1911-D fives only trail the 1912-S, 1913-S, and 1914-S. The Denver Mint appears to have made an effort to place both the five and ten dollar gold pieces into circulation in 1911. A large number of each are known today in circulated grades, primarily XF and AU. Lower-end Uncirculated half eagles can be located with little difficulty, but it is obvious that precious few were saved in the better grades of Mint State. Even among those that were saved, 1911-D fives are often unattractive coins. The Akers update to his 20th Century Gold reference states:

    "As one of the rarest Indian Half Eagles in high grades, the 1911-D is a very challenging issue to locate with overall smooth surfaces. Scattered abrasions are the norm, and they are sometimes excessive. ... The eye appeal is average at best, below-average luster and scattered abrasions canceling out a sharp strike and good color."

    The award-winning 2010 reference Indian Gold Coins by Mike Fuljenz takes the issue of quality a step further:

    "The luster is among the worst found on any Indian Head Half Eagle. As a result of the way the dies were prepared; it is typically very grainy in appearance and lacks the vibrancy seen on the earlier Denver Half Eagles."

    Another factor that enters into the general unavailability of this issue is that there were simply few date and mintmark collectors of five dollar gold pieces in 1911. A five dollar gold piece represented a significant amount of value for the collector of a century ago. Of course, ten dollar gold pieces represented an even greater store of value, and the low-mintage 1911-D ten is a key to that series. The twenty dollar gold pieces represented so much value to the average collector that they were generally only used by banks as backing for currency and as payment for overseas obligations. But that was not the case for the five dollar gold piece in 1911. Few were shipped overseas, and its value was not significant enough to be used as a store of value for banks. With no known hoards, the number of Uncirculated examples known today of the 1911-D five is the same number that had been set aside by collectors prior to the Gold Recall Order of 1933. Only one pair of dies was used to produce this issue, and almost all examples show a strong strike and sharply defined D mintmark.
    The relation between condition and value for Uncirculated 1911-D fives underscores not only the general unavailability of this issue in the better grades of Mint State, but it is also a comment on the increase in the collector base of this short-lived series over the past century. Less than two dozen coins have been certified in MS60, and these pieces can regularly be found in the $2,300 range. Just over 250 coins have been certified from MS61 to MS64 by the two major services, and the price for the 1911-D rises steeply with each upward tick in the grade. At the MS65 level (none are finer) there are only four other MS65 pieces certified, with this the sole MS65+ example and arguably the finest of the known Gems. The last time a Gem sold at public auction was in 2006, and that coin brought an astounding $241,500.
    We are not able ascertain the pre-2004 pedigree of this magnificent specimen, but it does not appear to match the image of the coin described as MS65 in Superior's Miguel Munoz Collection sale in June 1978. Akers mentions a second possible Gem in the description of the Duckor 1911-D in Auction '90, and it is entirely possible that this is that specimen. Since the appearance of this coin in our 2004 ANA Sale, only one other Gem has been sold, the above-mentioned MS65 piece in the Bowers 2006 ANA. With a total of five coins certified in MS65 and probably no more than three individual coins known, this indicates the high-grade examples of this key are held in extremely strong collector hands.
    The strike on this piece is predictably sharp overall, the only area of softness on the lowest headdress feather. Delicate reddish-gold and lilac patina complements the vibrant, satiny mint luster. This Gem is definitely an exception to the normally expected subpar luster seen on most 1911-D fives. A paper-thin, vertical blemish from the tip of the eagle's left (facing) wing to the S in STATES and a diagonal milling mark to the left of the I in IN are the only surface disturbances and possible pedigree identifiers on this beautifully preserved example.
    The 1911-D half eagle is one of the few 20th century coins that is known outside specialist circles. It is one of the rarest coins struck since the turn of the last century, and it is certainly one of the great condition rarities among gold coins of all denominations.
    Ex: 2004 ANA Auction (Heritage, 8/2004), lot 7386, which realized $166,750.
    From The Jim O'Neal Collection of $5 Indians.
    (Registry values: N14284)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28DR, PCGS# 8521)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View all of [The Jim O'Neal Collection of $5 Indians ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    5th-9th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,843

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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