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    1909 Indian Half Eagle, PR68
    Condition Census Example
    Tied for Finest Certified

    1909 $5 PR68 NGC. Mint officials anticipated strong collector demand for the new Indian half eagle when they delivered 167 proof specimens in 1908. Sales, however, were disappointing, a fact one can easily see reflected in the limited reported mintage of the 1909 proof. This second-year issue was produced to the extent of just 78 coins, and the finish was markedly different from that employed for the 1908. The 1909, as well as the 1910, was struck with a "Roman Gold" finish, per Walter Breen, which produced a hybrid appearance between brilliant and satiny. The master hubs were lightly buffed prior to annealing, but the dies produced from the hubs were not polished and the planchets received no special treatment. The coins were struck on the medal press to fully bring up all the design elements. Aside from the extraordinary sharpness of the strike, the resulting coins were virtually indistinguishable from business-strike examples. Researcher Roger W. Burdette notes coins that went unsold were simply released into circulation as business strikes at the close of the year, to save the extra work involved in melting and recoinage.

    The 1909 and 1910 are the only two issues in the proof Indian half eagle series to display the "Roman Gold" finish, and survivors of both deliveries are quite rare. Considering the entire series, the 1915 is the most elusive date in absolute terms, but the 1909 is the rarest proof Indian half eagle in high grade. PCGS CoinFacts offers an estimate of just 40-50 survivors, examples of which have been graded from PR63 through PR68 at the two major grading services.

    This spectacular PR68 example is tied with two other pieces for finest certified at NGC, while PCGS has graded no coins finer than PR67+ (5/18). It is easily one of the most appealing proof strikings of any denomination to sell through one of our Signature auctions. The surfaces are pleasingly bright for the finish, with considerable satin texture evident. The strike is full in all areas, and outwardly distracting and/or grade-limiting blemishes are nonexistent. It is solely for pedigree concerns that we mention a tiny swirl of overlying color in the obverse field at the upper-left corner of the first digit in the date. Medium intensity orange-gold shadings blanket both sides and dominate the outward appearance. We expect intense competition from series specialists and Registry Set enthusiasts when this lot is called.
    Ex: Charlotte National Money Show Signature (Heritage, 3/2003), lot 6345; Baltimore Signature (Heritage, 3/2009), lot 3052, where it realized $109,250.
    From An Important New York Collection. (Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 25ZS, PCGS# 8540)

    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 [An Important New York Collection ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    14th-17th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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