1866 Lincoln Portrait Five Cent in Copper
1866 5C Five Cents, Judd-487, Pollock-576, R.7, PR64 Brown NGC.
Judd-487, PR64 Brown
Design. The obverse centers around the portrait of Lincoln in profile, facing right. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA circles the bust above, with the date below. The reverse shows the denominational figure 5 above the word CENTS, encircled by a large wreath, with IN GOD WE TRUST above. Struck in copper with a plain edge.
Commentary. "The excessively rare pattern with the bust of Lincoln" is the description of this pattern on the accompanying envelope. The Lincoln portrait patterns include Judd-486, 487, and 488, with a combined NGC and PCGS population of eight, nine, and four pieces respectively. In an early auction appearance, an example of Judd-487 was paired with a specimen of Judd-486 in lot 1090 of the R.C. Davis Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 1/1890):
"1866 Five Cents: nude busts of Lincoln r. R Value in olive wreath, motto above: nickel and copper: proofs: exceedingly rare; 2 pcs."
Robert Coulton Davis wrote the first serious work on patterns, published in the Coin Collectors Journal in 1885, and the sale of his collection was a landmark event for pattern collectors. Eric P. Newman's evaluation of these patterns as "excessively rare" echoed the New York Coin & Stamp cataloger's assessment half a century earlier.
The U.S. Mint's consideration of the Lincoln portrait for coinage was an extraordinary gesture of compassion, coming within a year of his assassination. This tribute culminated in Lincoln's appearance on regular issue coinage in 1909 via Victor David Brenner's unsurpassed depiction of Lincoln on the new cent of that year.
Physical Description. This Choice proof has satin luster with slight field reflectivity, rather than the mirrored surfaces of most proof patterns. Both sides are medium brown with hints of delicate green patina and a few scattered toning specks. The design elements are sharply detailed throughout and visual appeal is quite strong. All Lincoln patterns are rare and seldom encountered.
Provenance. "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman @ $125; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
From The Eric P. Newman Collection. (NGC ID# 29KR, PCGS# 60683)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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