Description

    1843 Half Eagle, PR63 Cameo
    Proof Gold Rarity, Only Six Examples Traced
    Possibly Ex: Farouk

    1843 $5 PR63 Cameo NGC. R.7 as a proof. All early proof gold issues are very rare and the proof half eagles of 1843 are certainly no exception. Proof mintages were not recorded before the Mint began its commercial proof set offerings in the late 1850s, but experts agree no more than a half dozen complete sets of copper, silver, and gold proofs were issued in 1843. Proof gold coins were all struck for inclusion in the gold proof sets, which included examples of the quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle, the three denominations struck for contemporary coinage. Remarkably, three of these sets remained intact, at least until recent times, listed as numbers 1 through 3 in our roster below. At present, we can trace six examples of the 1843 half eagle in proof format, including two specimens in institutional collections and one in slightly impaired condition. NGC and PCGS have combined to certify a total of five examples in all grades, almost certainly including one or two resubmissions (6/15).

    The 1843 proof half eagle is so rare that decades can elapse between auction appearances. We believe the coin offered here last appeared in lot 250 of the Palace Collections of Egypt, the auction of King Farouk's fabulous collection in 1954. The coin was not plated in that appearance, as it was included in a lot with 15 other half eagles from surrounding years, so a plate match is not possible. It does not appear to match the coins in the Pittman or Carter proof sets, however, and is definitely much finer than the 2009 ANA example. Since the only other known specimens are held in museums, we believe this is the Farouk coin, which has not reappeared since that auction, but a slight possibility exists that it is a previously unknown seventh example.

    This delightful Select specimen exhibits razor-sharp definition on all design elements and the deeply mirrored fields provide bold cameo contrast with the frosty devices. The bright yellow-gold surfaces display delicate highlights of green, with a few minor hair lines and contact marks that do little to detract from the outstanding overall eye appeal. Census: 1 in 63 Cameo, 1 finer (6/15).

    Roster of 1843 Proof Half Eagles
    Most of the coins in the roster had not been certified at the time of their last auction appearance and some have never been certified. Five examples have been graded by NGC and PCGS as of 6/2015, but that total probably includes some resubmissions. The coins are listed below in chronological order of their discovery, rather than by grade.
    1. PR66 Deep Cameo (grade per Garrett and Guth). Mint Cabinet in 1843 as part of a complete proof set, National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
    2. Brilliant Proof. A coin in the complete copper, silver, and gold proof set in the original case reportedly presented by President Tyler in 1843 to an unnamed constituent; possibly purchased by Richard B. Winsor for $100 circa 1880; Winsor Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 12/1895), lot 1067; Fernand David Collection (Jacques Schulman, 3/1930), lot 112; purchased by an agent of B. Max Mehl at the Schulman sale in Amsterdam; Frank Stoddard; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green in 1932, via Mehl; Green Estate; Mehl again; Will W. Neil; Neil Collection (Mehl, 6/1947), lot 2292, sold as a set; Amon Carter, Sr.; Amon Carter, Jr.; Carter Family Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 630, set still intact; Daniel Drykerman, per Walter Breen.
    3. Gem Proof. William Woodin, exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition; possibly Waldo Newcomer and "Colonel" E.H.R. Green, but this is not certain; John Zug; purchased by F.C.C. Boyd in 1939; World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946), lot 394; J.F. Bell (Jacob Shapiro); Memorable Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 343; John Jay Pittman; Pittman Collection, Part I (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 832, as part of a complete copper, silver, and gold proof set; the three gold coins were reportedly sold privately by Blanchard & Company in May of 2009 for $937,765.
    4. PR63 Cameo NGC. "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; King Farouk; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), part of lot 250; Abe Kosoff; probably the present coin.
    5. Proof. A specimen in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, discovered by Dr. Richard Doty in 2002.
    6. PR58 PCGS. Los Angeles ANA Auction (Bowers and Merena, 8/2009), lot 4520, previous pedigree unknown.

    Additional Appearances
    A. PR65. David Akers reports seeing this example at the 1997 ANA Convention, possibly the coin in number 2, 3, or 4 above.
    B. Proof. 39th Mail Bid Sale (Hollinbeck-Kagin, 11/1946), per John Adams, catalog not available for comparison.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 28BL, PCGS# 88433)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
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