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    1887 Five Dollar, PR64 Cameo
    Only 87 Proofs Produced
    Almost Never Found Finer

    1887 $5 PR64 Cameo PCGS. CAC. JD-1. The 1887 half eagle in proof format has the ironic (and easily remembered) mintage of 87 pieces. There were no business strikes produced in Philadelphia this year, but San Francisco had a large output of 1.9 million pieces; so for those collectors assembling date sets the proof 1885 five is not an absolute necessity as, say, the double eagles are from 1883, 1884, and 1887. The proof half eagles from this year were all struck at the end of each quarter -- the notable exception is the lack of any pieces struck in the third quarter of 1887. Of the 87 pieces produced, John Dannreuther has estimated only 35 to 45 examples remain today. John also makes two curious observations about this issue: one, there are several circulated proofs known, and second, there are almost no Deep/Ultra Cameo proofs known (our records show only a single coin, a PR63 Ultra Cameo, that was offered twice in 2014).

    JD's point about the number of circulated proofs of this date leads to a question that can never be adequately answered: Why did this date circulate to a limited extent, while other issues almost not at all? The only clue we can come up with is there were no strikes for circulation from the Philadelphia mint in this year. His second point about the lack of Deep/Ultra Cameos is another anomaly of this date. One would expect the earliest strikes to have enough contrast to merit the Deep/Ultra designation, but some years just did not receive the attention in the production process that others did. John does point out that the proof in the National Numismatic Collection was acquired on January 27 and that piece does rate the Deep/Ultra designation.

    This particular piece displays deeply reflective fields. The mirrors are deep enough that the frosted devices certainly do provide the contrast expected from a Cameo coin. The surfaces are remarkably clean with the only contact marks of any note that could be used for pedigree purposes being a series of five tiny, shallow reeding marks on the reverse just above the topmost leaf on the olive branch. Exceptional quality and rarity in this largely overlooked proof half eagle. Population: 4 in 64 Cameo, 2 finer. CAC: 3 in 64, 2 finer (9/19).
    From The Kodiak Collection. (Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 3YPF, PCGS# 88482)

    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 [The Kodiak Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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