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    Description

    From a Mintage of 179 Coins
    One of 5 or 6 Known

    Meiji Proof 50 Sen Year 13 (1880) PR63 NGC, Osaka mint, KM-Y25, JNDA 1-14, JV-S7. A show-stopping selection that features a melange of magenta, lemon, and electric blue color that washes over the obverse in a tie-dye pattern of watery brilliance, surrounding the central motif in an array of color. The reverse displays a more subdued level of tone in striated shades of gray, with touches of azure at the rims. As the grade indicates, some light handling is observed, particularly in the reverse field, but the enchanting visual composition of this selection more than makes up for any stray wisps. Only a few examples are known (5-6) of the original mintage (presumably all were originally struck in Proof condition) of 179 pieces, one of which we sold (NGC VF35) in 2011 and realized an impressive $48,875. The only unimpaired Proof specimen available for reference comes from the 1999 Pittman sale, however, our current offering remains the singular certified example of this scarce date.
    From the Commander Collection

     

    ---More on the Meiji 13 (1880) Proof Set---


    On its existence...

    The Meiji 13 proof set is among the most significant numismatic items in the world, not only because of the incredible rarity of each of the set's components, but because of its presentation role, undeniably gifted to heads-of-state or high-ranking foreign liaisons during this infancy period of Japan's opening to the western world. These sets certainly played an integral role in the development of relationships, which ultimately would not only shape Japan as a nation, but the many nations who reciprocated in trade.

    On its rarity...

    While mintage figures for several of the denominations in proof have been recorded, and they are all tiny, their survival rate appears to be much smaller, alarmingly so in fact (with well below 10 of most denominations known), with other factors surely contributing to the set's extreme rarity. Perhaps the most likely scenario is that only a small portion of those struck were actually distributed, with the ungifted pieces either having been melted or even later finding their way into circulation. The appearance of several circulated specimens in our offering of the Norman Jacobs collection in 2011 would seem to support this theory. Further, the uneven published mintages, ranging from 77 (10 sen) to 179 (50 sen) [note: the rin, with a listed mintage of 810, while appearing seldomly, does seem to have been produced in regular circulating condition] would logically point to a maximum of 77 sets, with many duplicates becoming "unnecessary".  While we are aware of no fully intact sets, it seems inconceivable that these presentation coins, especially those not in gold, would have been officially distributed in any manner other than as a full set.

    On comparable numismatic items...

    There are few numismatic issues worldwide that compare in composition and stature to the Meiji 13 set, with the most well-known clearly being those struck by the United States during the administration of President Andrew Jackson in the mid-1830s. That set, produced for similar diplomatic reasons, contained 11 items (4 gold, 5 silver, 2 copper), including a small gold medal with the President's likeness and the individually-famous 1804 dollar. Similar in rarity, we know of only a single instance where this presentation remains "intact", that being the set gifted to the King of Siam. Kept from the public eye for over a century, the set re-surfaced in the late 1950s in London with the half dime and medal missing. Most recently, the set was sold in 2005 for $8.5 million. If re-offered today as individual pieces, both Dollar and Ten Dollar piece from this set alone, both dated 1804, would almost certainly eclipse the total previous set price.




    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    8th-9th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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    I wish to extend our appreciation to you for over $925,000.00 realized from the above subject auction. This amount realized was approximately $110,000.00 more than we anticipated.
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