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    1834 Classic Head Half Eagle, First Head
    Large Plain 4, McCloskey 1-A, PR63 Cameo
    An Exceptional Early Gold Rarity

    1834 Classic Head Half Eagle, Plain 4, PR63 Cameo NGC. First Head, Large Plain 4, Breen-6501, McCloskey 1-A, R.7 as a Proof. Like all known proof 1834 No Motto half eagles, the 4 in the date is large, plain (not a crosslet style), and close to the curl. The date is a so-called "fancy" or "script" 8 variety, with a larger juncture of the loops than the outlines of the loops themselves. The arrowheads are large; the lowest touches the second A in AMERICA. The second S in STATES shows recutting on the middle curve, and the eagle has a tongue.
    The 1834 Classic Head half eagle issue was the first of the new type; as such, the issue is quite popular with collectors and first-year-of-type enthusiasts. But while the issue as a business strike is available for a price in grades well up into the Mint State range, proof examples are incredibly rare.
    The Eliasberg proof 1834 With Motto, Crosslet 4 half eagle is a unique coin, although Mint State examples survive. Later in 1834, after the design change, the need for additional proof coins prompted further strikings of the Classic Head type. Some of those examples ended up in special sets such as the King of Siam proof set. Proof examples of the new type are a bit more plentiful, yet still quite rare in the absolute sense; possibly five or six exist today.
    Our Permanent Auction Archives show that, including the present piece, we have offered only three different Classic Head 1834 half eagles on four occasions in nearly two decades. We have twice handled a PR63 Cameo NGC example formerly in the collection of Dr. Robert Loewinger, an expert and published author on the subject of proof U.S. gold. We also offered a PR63 Ultra Cameo piece in our 2008 FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2008), lot 1963, which failed to meet the reserve. Our only other offering for the entire type was of the marvelous 1835 Classic Head half eagle proof, PR67 PCGS, formerly in the Pittman Collection.
    The certified populations are minuscule: NGC shows six proofs of the 1834 issue and 10 for the entire type, while PCGS adds two for the issue and four for the type, for a total of eight proofs of the issue and 14 for the type in all grades, including duplications and crossovers (11/10).
    Prooflike coins are widely available of the 1834 Classic five. They are beautiful coins and well-produced. However, there is a profound difference between a well-produced prooflike and a proof. The fields on this piece show a depth of reflectivity that simply cannot be duplicated on a business strike. Additionally, the strike details on this proof are fully brought up in all areas--a feature usually lacking on business strikes. The devices are noticeably frosted, an attribute NGC has recognized with the Cameo designation. A few wispy hairlines and contact marks that account for the PR63 grade appear in the fields under a loupe. The most reliable pedigree marker is a thin mark angling between the chin and star 2. Exceptional rarity and quality. Census for all 1834 proofs: 1 in PR62, 1 in PR65, 3 in PR63 Cameo, 1 in PR63 Ultra Cameo (11/10).

    Heritage Offerings of Proof Classic Head Half Eagles
    --1834 PR63 Cameo NGC. The present coin.
    --1834 PR63 Cameo NGC. Ex: Dr. Robert L. Loewinger. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 3045, realized $63,250; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3126, realized $92,000. The Loewinger plate coin. Small mark on Liberty's chin.
    --1834 PR63 Ultra Cameo NGC. Ex: Lisa L. FUN Signature (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 1963, bought in.
    --1835 PR67 PCGS. Ex: Pittman. Gold Rush Collection, FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2005), lot 30050, realized $690,000.(Registry values: P1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# E2NF, PCGS# 8180)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 89.92% Gold, 10.08% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    5th-9th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 7,084

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