Premium Gem Proof 1915 Half Eagle
1915 $5 PR66 PCGS. CAC. The 1915 proof Indian half eagle is
the key to the proof series, from a minuscule mintage of 75 pieces.
To quote David Akers and Jeff Ambio:
Low-Mintage Key Date
Only One Coin Finer at PCGS
"The Mint struck its final proof Indian Half Eagles in 1915, using the same finish applied to the proof 1914. All proof Indian Half Eagles were poor sellers with the contemporary public, but the proof 1915 was more unpopular than usual. By the time the Mint produced this issue there was little interest in matte proofing techniques. As a result, more than half of the original mintage was destroyed as unsold. Today, the 1915 is the rarest proof in the Indian Half Eagle series."
Easily the rarest proof Indian five dollar gold piece, the 1915 has a surviving population of no more than 25-35 coins. The population data from the grading services seems to contain a number of duplicate submissions, as PCGS and NGC have combined to certify 40 coins in all grades. Further, NGC has graded seven coins in PR66, with two finer, while PCGS has certified only two Premium Gems, with one finer (11/11). A study of auction records over the last 15 years resulted in the roster of PR66 and finer specimens below, in which we can account for only five Premium Gems and a single Superb Gem. It seems likely that the high-grade coins have been submitted for grading more than once, although some specimens may simply not have appeared at auction during the period we studied.
The present coin is a magnificent Premium Gem, with needle-sharp definition on the design elements, including the headdress feathers and the eagle's leg. The pristine surfaces are free of even the smallest distractions and display attractive honey-gold color, with a few green and rose highlights. The mint luster is more vibrant than usually seen on a matte proof issue and visual appeal is tremendous.
Roster of 1915 Proof Indian Half Eagles, MS66 or Finer.
1. PR67 Uncertified. Robert E. Kruthofer, Jr. Collection (Paramount, 9/1981), lot 32.
2. PR66 PCGS. The Present coin.
3. PR66 PCGS. Dominic Graziano & Papyrus Way Collections (Stack's, 3/2008), lot 654.
4. PR66 NGC. Ed Trompeter; Long Beach Signature Auction (Heritage, 9/98), lot 6978; Richmond Collection, Part One (David Lawrence, 7/04), lot 1559; Central States Signature Auction (Heritage, 5/2005), lot 8743.
5. PR66 NGC. C.F. Childs, purchased directly from the Mint in 1915; Walter H. Childs Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1999), lot 770; Chicago Signature Auction (Heritage, 8/2011), lot 7586.
6. PR66 NGC. 65th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 12/2000), lot 1457.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 2VMS, PCGS# 8546)
Weight: 8.36 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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