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    Description

    Superb Matte Proof 1908 Half Eagle
    First Year of the New Pratt Design

    1908 $5 PR67 NGC. There were few proof gold collectors in 1908. Only 167 proof half eagles were struck, an increase from the 92 proofs produced the prior year. The 1908 quarter eagle had a comparable increase in proof mintage from its 1907 predecessor. The cause for the additional pieces struck was presumably the new designs by Bela Lyon Pratt. These replaced the long-lived Liberty types, which had been struck throughout the entire lifetime of most collectors of the era.
    Some who ordered the new Indian half eagle proofs were surely surprised when they received and examined their specimens. Unlike prior designs, the devices were sunken into the field, with the high points at the same level as the field. These designs are often referred to as incuse, but this is a misnomer, since an incuse design would have opposite relief, with areas such as the cheekbone the lowest point of the design, instead of the highest. The proof finish of the Indian half eagle was also dramatically different than the Liberty type. Proof Liberty half eagles have mirrored fields and (at times) frosty devices, similar to the proof gold American Eagles in production today. The proof Indian and Saint-Gaudens types are matte proofs, with the same microgranular finish on both the fields and devices.
    Proof Indian half eagles are easily distinguished from their business strike counterparts. The color is comparatively dark, since the fields lack reflectivity, and luster is diffused. Since the pieces were well made, the abrasions that plague bag-stored business strikes are absent on proofs. Finally, the proofs are fully struck, the extra detail most noticeable on the eagle's shoulder and the lower reaches of the headdress. The present piece shows all of these characteristics, and is essentially perfect, save for a tiny mint-made planchet flaw located directly beneath, but relatively distant from, the U in TRUST. This minuscule flaw serves as an identifier for any auction appearances. Census: 11 in 67, 1 finer (11/08).(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
    January, 2009
    7th-11th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 418

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