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    Description

    1908 Indian Half Eagle, PR67
    First Year of Design
    Only One Finer Coin at NGC

    1908 $5 PR67 NGC. JD-1. Bela Lyon Pratt's exciting incuse Indian design debuted on the half and quarter eagles in 1908. The incuse design was intended to reduce wear on the coins, since the devices would be sheltered below the surface. Unfortunately, this feature made it impossible for the Mint to produce proof coins with the brilliant finish collectors prized in previous years. Instead, the proofs were struck with specially prepared dies and then sandblasted to impart a dark, artistic matte finish to the coins. Only one pair of dies was used to strike the 167 proof half eagles delivered in 1908.

    Initially, the novelty of the new design appealed to collectors and a substantial number of proofs was distributed. However, the matte finish proved unpopular and sales declined rapidly as the year went on. Any unsold examples were melted after the close of the year. John Dannreuther estimates the surviving population at 80-100 examples in all grades, making the 1908 the most available proof Indian half eagle in today's market.

    The new proofs began appearing at auction at least as early as lot 476 of the Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1909), which featured a complete, four-piece gold proof set, "1908 Gold proof set, $20, $10, $5, $2 1/2, Dull sand blasted finish. Extremely rare. Set." The set sold for a strong price of $70. Recent sales of the 1908 proof half eagle include the PR67 NGC specimen in our September 2014 Long Beach Signature, which realized $54,343.75.

    The present coin is a magnificent Superb Gem proof, with razor-sharp definition on the design elements. The khaki-gold surfaces are impeccably preserved and no useful pedigree markers are evident. Both sides exhibit unbroken matte luster, with outstanding eye appeal. We expect intense competition from series specialists when this lot is called. Census: 11 in 67, 1 finer (4/19).(Registry values: N10218)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28E3, PCGS# 8539)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2019
    6th-9th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 18
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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