1861 Liberty Five, PR66 Cameo
1861 $5 PR66 Cameo NGC. Ex: Trompeter. Despite the reported
mintage of 66 pieces, the 1861 Liberty half eagle is just as rare
in proof format as many gold proof issues of the 1860s with much
smaller production totals. In fact, most experts consider the 1861
proof half eagle the rarest issue of the series after 1859. Walter
Breen notes at least 10 examples were melted in January of 1862,
having gone unsold the previous year. It is possible that even more
coins were never distributed, and some of those that were ended up
being spent by their owners in the hard times of the Civil War.
Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth opine, "It is doubtful if even 10 coins
have survived of this very rare issue." NGC and PCGS together have
certified only four coins in proof format (4/15). We have compiled
a roster of the six coins known to us below, including one specimen
in the Smithsonian Institution and another in the collection of the
American Numismatic Society.
Single-Finest Certified Example
Ex: Ten Eyck-Eliasberg-Trompeter
The coin offered here is the finest-known example by two full grade points. The design elements are sharply detailed, with full radials on all the stars and fine definition on the eagle's claws and feathers. The fields are deeply mirrored, setting off the frosty design elements in a stunning cameo effect. The surfaces are impeccably preserved, with a few microscopic planchet flakes above the eye and some toning near the dentils from 7 to 9 o'clock the only significant pedigree markers. This coin claims an illustrious history, having graced the famous collections of Louis Eliasberg and Ed Trompeter and overall eye appeal is terrific. Census: 1 in 66 Cameo, 0 finer (4/15).
Roster of 1861 Proof Half Eagles
1. PR66 Cameo NGC. James Ten Eyck Collection (B. Max Mehl, 5/1922), lot 227; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 500; Ed Trompeter; Heritage Auctions; private collection. The present coin.
2. PR64 Deep Cameo, grade by Garrett and Guth. Mint Cabinet; National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
3. PR64 Cameo NGC. Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2008), lot 2453.
4. Brilliant Proof. Thomas Elder; purchased privately by Floyd T. Starr on 6/1/1937; Starr Collection (Stack's, 10/1992), lot 1206.
5. Brilliant Proof. Amon G. Carter Family Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 679.
6. Proof. Robert C.H. Brock; J.P. Morgan; American Numismatic Society in 1908.
A. Proof. George F. Seavey, part of a complete minor, silver, and gold proof set probably purchased directly from the Mint in 1861; Seavey Descriptive Catalog (William Strobridge, 6/1873), lot 823; purchased, along with the rest of Seavey's collection, by Lorin G. Parmelee; Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1318; H.P. Smith.
B. Proof. Mendes I. Cohen Collection (Edward Cogan, 10/1875), lot 248, part of a six-piece gold proof set; Thomas Cleneay; Cleneay Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 409; M.A. Brown Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 4/1897), lot 98.
C. Proof. David S. Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), lot 321, part of a partial proof set of the year bought in by S.H. Chapman.
D. Proof. F.C.C. Boyd; World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946), lot 415; Jacob Shapiro (aka J.F. Bell); Memorable Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 361; possibly King Farouk; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 254; Hans Schulman.
E. Proof. William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1682.
F. Proof. Auction Sale (New World Rarities, 5/1998), lot 109, catalog not available for comparison.
G. Proof. A specimen purchased by Virgil Brand from S.H. Chapman in 1912 as part of a gold proof set.
Ex: Ed Trompeter Collection; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection.
From The Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 3ZGF, PCGS# 88451)
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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