1859 Half Eagle, Thrilling PR65 Cameo
1859 $5 PR65 Cameo NGC.
Few Known, Tied for Finest Graded
****This lot was withdrawn as a single lot and sold as a part of a set in lot 5215.****
The 1859 half eagle is the earliest in the series for which we have a reported mintage figure, as the 1858 half eagle exists only to the extent of four or five pieces today. The 1859 half eagle proof mintage is reported as 80 pieces, a figure that bears absolutely no relation to the issue's rarity today (and in fact, may have borne no relation to the number actually sold and issued at the time by the Mint). Only eight to 10 examples survive today, and several of those are in museum collections -- likely four or five pieces, per Garrett and Guth, as an example in the Royal Mint Museum example was sold in 2013, as noted below.
Needless to say, the foregoing gives the present piece "exceedingly rare outside of museums" status, and the available data confirm it. PCGS reports one lightly circulated example in PR58, plus three Cameo submissions in PR63, PR65, and PR65+. NGC also shows one PR58 and two in PR65 Cameo, so it is a reasonable, if not verifiable, conclusion that those data may represent only two or three different coins, including the present PR65 Cameo NGC coin. The fields are deeply reflective on this piece, which shows prevailing yellow-gold to amber-gold color, and the devices are well-frosted throughout both sides, sufficient for a Cameo designation. Two hair-thin marks running through Liberty's upper cheek pose no distraction but are useful for pedigree purposes. The strike is bold and powerful, making this a simply thrilling early proof gold half eagle.
The importance of this coin cannot be overemphasized. The only recent auction record we find of an example in any grade is the offering of a PR64 Cameo PCGS example from the British Royal Mint collection (Morton & Eden, 3/2013), lot 610, which brought £88,000 ($133,212).
The price realized for this lot will not be final until the six coins in this 1859 gold proof set have been offered as a set. If the price realized for the set does not exceed an increment or half increment of the total for each of the coins individually, then this lot will sell as a single piece.
From The New Orleans Collection.(Registry values: P7) (PCGS# 88449)
Weight: 8.36 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
View all of [The New Orleans Collection ]
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