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    Sumptuous 1860 Half Eagle, PR66 Cameo

    1860 $5 PR66 Cameo NGC. Despite a stated mintage of 62 proofs, the 1860 five dollar gold is far more elusive in proof format than that figure would suggest. As Akers noted in his work on the denomination, the majority of pieces likely never left the Mint. A similar pattern appears for the 1859 and 1861 proof half eagles as well; the mintages appear high, yet those two issues are similarly elusive. In 1862, production of proof fives fell to 35 pieces, which was likely much closer to the number of specimens actually sold.
    It is perhaps unsurprising that the Mint would make a miscalculation of this kind, as proofs were not offered to the general public until 1858. The Mint, not knowing what demand would be, likely overproduced the issue and subsequently melted the unsold remainders. The attrition of almost a century and a half claimed a number of others, and Garrett and Guth, in their 2006 work on American gold coinage, stated that "probably about 10 examples" remain today, several of which are impounded in museum collections. The number of specimens available to private collectors is very small, and the issue is an extreme rarity in the numismatic marketplace. As stated by Garrett and Guth, "It can sometimes be years between the offerings of an 1860 half eagle in Proof."
    The elegant Premium Gem offered here displays excellent contrast, a hallmark for the 1860 proof half eagles, and strong visual appeal. The strike is bold, and while the surfaces show a few tiny flaws (such as a small depression in the left obverse field), the overall visual appeal is remarkable, particularly when one considers the early issue. This specimen is the lone finest Cameo example certified by NGC (1/08), and it is immensely desirable as such.
    From The Southwest Collection.(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 Southwest Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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