Description

    1862 Five Dollar, PR64 Ultra Cameo
    Civil War Survivor With Optimal Surface Contrast

    1862 $5 PR64 Ultra Cameo NGC. As with all American gold proof issues dated 1862, the recorded mintage was 35 pieces for the half eagle, along with its sibling denominations from the one dollar gold through twenty dollar. These coins were likely all struck early in the year for assembly into sets, and it is possible that several examples of each denomination were melted later as unsold. It was certainly common Mint practice of the time, and it is noteworthy that Walter Breen provides an estimate of only 11 to 15 or so survivors for each denomination in his Proof Encyclopedia. While modern estimates of survivorship are slightly higher in some cases, they are not that far from his estimates of nearly 25 years ago (1989).
    The year 1862 was noteworthy, of course, for the bloody, disastrous Civil War that raged in the East and South. The year was one in which much of the American populace went from believing the war would soon end to believing that the conflict would be epic and horrific, which it unfortunately did turn out to be. A consequence was that gold and silver coins (first) were hoarded, then minor coinage altogether; paper currency, private scrip, encased postage currency, and merchant tokens had to fill the void.
    It may have been that as the political scenario worsened so dramatically during the year, many American collectors decided they simply had better things to do with their money than tie up five or ten or twenty dollars on a current proof gold coin from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia -- leaving the Mint with unsold coinage at year-end.
    The date 1862 on the present PR64 Ultra Cameo half eagle is small, but it is deeply impressed into the die. The strike itself is quite bold on this near-Gem, close to full save for a hint of softness on Liberty's forelock and hair below the coronet. Deep field-device contrast occurs over bright yellow-gold surfaces, and pronounced die striations appear in the fields on each side. Census: 3 in 64 Ultra Cameo, 2 finer (11/12).
    From The Dr. James Olsen Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28BX, PCGS# 98452)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    View all of [The Dr. James Olsen Collection ]

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    January, 2013
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