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    Description

    1915 Five Dollar Indian, PR66
    Rare Final Proof Issue
    Only One Finer Coin at NGC

    1915 $5 PR66 NGC. JD-1, R.4. Ex: Simpson. Only 75 proof Indian half eagles were struck in 1915, the smallest production total of the series. All the coins were struck from the same pair of dies and all were delivered on October 25. As might be expected, the 1915 proof Indian half eagle is the rarest issue of the series, with a surviving population of just 45-55 examples in all grades.

    The Mint discontinued its proof gold and silver coinage program after 1915, and minor proof coins were discontinued a year later. The various matte, or sandblast, finishes used on proof gold issues after 1908 were never popular with contemporary collectors, and meager sales have always been seen as the reason for the demise of the program. Lower sales undoubtedly played a part in the decision to suspend proof coinage, but we suspect other factors contributed as well, at least as far as the gold proofs were concerned. It is worth noting that only the San Francisco Mint struck gold coins in 1916 and all regular-issue U.S. gold coinage was suspended after that year, through the end of the World War I era. In an October 17, 1916-dated letter from Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Adam Joyce to Mint Director F.J.H. von Engelken, Joyce notes the following about the production of proof issues, " ... we are only allowed to make each denomination after the regular coins for circulation have been issued." If this guidance was followed after 1916, it would have been impossible to issue proof gold coins, since no business strikes were produced. Von Engelken wrote back the following day, about the same time that proof half eagles were issued the year before, authorizing the suspension of all proof coinage. While economics undoubtedly played a part in the demise of the classic era of gold proof coinage, it is evident that Mint officials found it incongruous to issue gold proofs for collectors at a time when no business-strike coins were produced. This attitude is in marked contrast with that of late 19th century Mint policy, which allowed for many proof-only mintages of coins to satisfy collector demand. Perhaps the new rules were an effort to limit the abuses of that earlier era.

    The present coin is a spectacular Premium Gem with needle-sharp definition on all design elements. The pleasing orange-gold surfaces show no mentionable distractions and the overall presentation is exceptionally attractive. This coin should find a home in the finest collection or Registry Set. Census: 8 in 66, 1 finer (4/20).

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28E9, PCGS# 8546)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


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

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    January
    15th Friday
    Auction Dates
    February
    3rd-8th Wednesday-Monday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    79 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 73
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