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    Gem 1843-O Small Letters Five
    Single Finest PCGS-Certified

    1843-O $5 Small Letters MS65 PCGS. The mintage that is generally quoted for the Small Letters 1843-O is 19,075 pieces. Breen's comment about this issue from his 1988 Encyclopedia remains true today: "Very rare in EF; Ex. rare above. A few 'seawater Uncs;' prohibitively rare full Unc." Only seven Uncirculated coins have been certified in the various grades of Mint State, with this piece tied with a single NGC coin for finest graded. It is possible that the NGC coin could be this same coin, crossed over to PCGS and left within the Census Report, since no NGC MS65 examples have appeared at auction.
    On the present piece, the surfaces are bright and sparkle with mint luster just as they did when John Tyler was president. As with many branch mint coins from this era, this coin has fields that are borderline reflective, which give it even more vibrancy and "life." The details are also very well defined with only slight softness noted on Liberty's hair curls, the eagle's neck, and claws. As one would expect for an MS65, there are no distracting blemishes on either side. For pedigree purposes, however, we note a hair-thin diagonal mark in the obverse field out from stars 1 and 2, and another between stars 5 and 6.
    Astute collectors have begun to appreciate the absolute as well as the conditional scarcity of New Orleans gold. For some reason, these issues have not received the notoriety or the press of Charlotte and Dahlonega gold, with the exception of several very rare O-mint double eagles. The present magnificent Gem is an opportunity awaiting a savvy collector who appreciates the finest and the rarest while also recognizing an undervalued issue.
    We believe that this is the PCGS MS65 listed as finest known by Doug Winter in his 2006 update of Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint. However, his provenance is incorrect. The present piece first emerged as lot 2251 of the August 2000 Bowers and Merena auction, where it was described as one of four pieces from the same source, all in nice Mint State. The other three pieces were also auctioned by Bowers in Merena that year, as lot 2252 in August 2000 and as lots 2392 and 2393 in March 2000. These four pieces are also the four finest known, with fifth place taken by the Eliasberg example. The MS61 PCGS example, listed as #5 in the Winter census, is actually a Large Letters variety, as can be seen from its photo as lot 2667 of the Bowers and Merena Baltimore ANA auction catalog.(Registry values: P7)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 25T5, PCGS# 8217)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2008
    16th-18th Wednesday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,237

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