1842 PR64 ★ Cameo Five Dollar
1842 $5 PR64 ★ Cameo NGC. Farouk. Unique in
collectors' hands and one of only two pieces known. There has been
no doubt about the status of this coin and the rarity of this date
for at least the last 30 years. In his 1977 Proof
Encyclopedia Breen made only brief reference to the 1842:
"Small date, small letters; first type, probably coined only
January-February." This entry was then followed by the roster of
the two known coins, one of which is in the Smithsonian.
One of Only Two Proofs Known
When David Akers cataloged John Pittman's collection, he was quite a bit more expansive in describing the coin and its die characteristics:
"There is a die break that literally bisects the reverse; it runs from the bottom rim through the left side of the E in FIVE to the eagle, then exits from the top of the eagle's head past the right side of the T to the rim. Directly below the lowest arrow feather is a lint mark in the field; another lint mark appears at the right side of the E in AMERICA. There is also an unfinished area between the top of the E in AMERICA and the denticles."
Another interesting bit of background information about this coin is how John Pittman acquired it. It is well known he took out a second mortgage on his home in order to go to Cairo in 1954 to purchase coins from Farouk's collection. While taking out a second mortgage is not generally a good idea, Pittman's purchases at the Farouk Sale proved the wisdom of this unconventional decision. This coin was in a lot of 17 other pieces, most of which were early C and D-mint gold. While those coins were also worthy acquisitions, this coin was the main reason Pittman acquired that lot.
There is absolutely no doubt about the status of this piece as a proof when one views it. The fields are deeply mirrored with reflectivity that extends all the way to the denticles. The rims are sharp and squared off on each side. The striking details are absolutely full on all the devices. In short, this is a proof that is fully comparable to those struck 16 years later when commercial production of proof coinage was implemented for sale to collectors.
The surfaces show a few light hairlines, the most notable is in the field out from star 2. Otherwise, the coin is medium orange-gold with a slight touch of lilac. The devices are nicely frosted and present a noticeable cameo contrast against the deeply mirrored fields.
Ex: Thomas Cleneay; William H. Woodin (displayed at the 1914 ANS exhibit, listed on page 30); Colonel E.H.R. Green; The Palace Collections of Egypt sale-Farouk (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 249; John Jay Pittman; Pittman I (Akers, 10/1997), lot 955; Harry Bass; Bass IV (Bowers and Merena, 11/2000), lot 371.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 25ZF, PCGS# 88432)
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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