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    1860 Liberty Half Eagle, PR65 Cameo
    Finest-Certified Specimen
    Ex: Eliasberg-Trompeter

    1860 $5 PR65 Cameo NGC. Ex: Trompeter. According to Mint records, 62 proof Liberty half eagles were struck in 1860, all delivered on April 5, but it seems unlikely that anywhere near that number were actually distributed. John Dannreuther recently discovered that the Philadelphia Mint first began charging an extra fee for proof coinage in 1860. Gold proof sets were priced at $43 for each six-piece set, with a face value of $41.50. The $0.25 per coin proofing charge was a significant extra expense for coin dealers and collectors in those days, and demand for proof sets dropped accordingly. Many examples must have gone unsold, to be melted after the end of the year. No more than 10 specimens survive today in all grades, including two coins in institutional collections at the Smithsonian Institution and the American Numismatic Society. NGC and PCGS have combined to certify a total of five coins, with the coin offered here the finest at PR65 Cameo (4/15).

    The present coin first appeared in lot 226 of the James Ten Eyck Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1922) where it was described as:

    "1860 Brilliant proof. Very rare in proof condition, as but very few proofs were struck of these earlier dates."

    The lot realized $26, a strong price at the time. Prices realized for this issue have exceeded $100,000 on several occasions in Heritage auctions since 2008.

    Prominent collector John H. Clapp purchased this coin at the Ten Eyck sale and it was retained in the Clapp Family Collection until 1942, when the entire collection was sold to Louis Eliasberg, Sr. in a blockbuster transaction brokered by Stack's. Eliasberg's collection was justly famous for its completeness and the quality of the coins it contained. It was offered by Bowers and Ruddy in 1982 in one of the landmark auctions of the 20th century. Proof gold specialist Ed Trompeter purchased the coin at the Eliasberg sale, and it has only been offered publicly once since that time.

    This delightful Gem is the finest-known example and it displays terrific eye appeal and boasts an illustrious pedigree to complement its high technical quality. The design elements are richly frosted, creating intense cameo contrast with the deeply mirrored fields. Like all specimens seen, the strike shows some softness on Liberty's curls above the forehead and the eagle's claws, but all star radials are complete and the definition is sharp in all other areas. As on most examples seen, the obverse shows a few lint marks, but signs of contact are minimal on both sides. This piece is a must-have example for Registry Set enthusiasts. Census: 1 in 65 Cameo, 0 finer (4/15).
    Ex: James Ten Eyck Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1922), lot 226; John H. Clapp Collection, 1942; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 496; Ed Trompeter Collection; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection.
    From The Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 28BV, PCGS# 88450)

    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 Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,401

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