1879 Liberty Eagle, PR65 Cameo
1879 $10 PR65 Cameo NGC. The 1879 proof Liberty eagle is a
classic rarity in the U.S. gold series. While not as well known as
the 1877 and 1878, the 1879 proof Liberty eagle is just as elusive.
Only 30 specimens were struck, and experts agree no more than 10 to
12 individual coins are known today. We could only account for
seven distinct specimens in our roster below, but a few examples
may not have appeared in our auction survey. Two coins are
impounded in Institutional collections, further reducing the number
available to collectors. This coin is tied with one other specimen
for second-finest certified (4/12), but it is difficult to imagine
an example with greater eye appeal.
Classic 19th Century Rarity
Only One Coin Certified Finer
As with all proofs of this date, the hair curls behind Liberty's head are detached by excessive die polishing and seem to "float" in back of the neck. Further evidence of this heavy die polishing can also be seen on the detached left end of the scroll, and below the second T in TRUST. The surfaces display lovely honey-gold coloration and the fields are deeply mirrored with a significant amount of mint frost over the devices; this produces impressive cameo contrast on each side. Close examination with a magnifier shows a few light hairlines, but these do not impair the overall appearance or Gem quality of this important 19th century gold coin.
1879 Proof Eagle Roster(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 28FH, PCGS# 88819)
1. PR65 Cameo NGC. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3659, realized $50,312.50, the present coin.
2. PR65 Cameo NGC. Atlanta Signature (Heritage, 8/2001), lot 7946; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2006), lot 3546.
3. PR64 Cameo PCGS. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3772.
4. PR64 PCGS. T. Harrison Garrett, purchased directly from the Mint; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection, Part IV (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1980), lot 1675; Auction '84 (Stack's, 7/1984), lot 1454, Ed Trompeter; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/1999), lot 8241; Santa Clara Signature (Heritage, 11/1999), lot 6901; Central States Signature (Heritage, 5/2000), lot 7797.
5. PR64 PCGS. Massachusetts Historical Society Collection (Stack's, 10/1970), lot 955; Harry W. Bass, Jr; Bass Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1571; Bass Collection, Part IV (Bowers and Merena, 11/2000), lot 728; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2011), lot 5438.
6. PR64 Cameo, Uncertified. A specimen in the National Numismatic Collection, Smithsonian Institution, formerly in the Mint Cabinet, purchased from the coiner in January 1879, per Walter Breen. Grade courtesy of Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth.
7. Proof. R.C.W. Brock, purchased from the Mint in 1879; J.P. Morgan; donated to the American Numismatic Society in 1908, exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition.
A. World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946), lot 684; Memorable Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 577; ANA Convention Auction (Abe Kosoff, 8/1968), lot 1033; Florida numismatist, part of an assembled 1879 gold proof set, possibly the same as number 2 above.
B. William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1457.
C. David S. Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), lot 339, part of a complete six piece gold proof set.
D. Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 430, part of a complete six piece gold proof set.
E. William B. Wetmore Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 6/1906), lot 162, part of a complete six piece gold proof set.
F. Somerset Collection (Bowers and Merena, 5/1992), lot 1541, listed as PR60, polished, possibly a business strike.
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