1864 Half Eagle, PR64 Cameo
    Ex: Harry W. Bass, Jr.
    About 20 Proofs Extant

    1864 $5 PR64 Cameo PCGS. The inherent rarity and historical significance of proof gold coinage of this era explain its special appeal. The Mint began to offer proofs publicly in 1858, and in those earliest years such offerings were purchased mainly by a small group of collectors and speculators. The implementation of a 13 cent proofing fee for silver and a 25 cent fee for gold in 1860, and the outbreak of the Civil War a year later further restricted demand for these opulent numismatic products. Each and every proof gold survivor across all denominations, years, and contrast categories are highly sought-after in today's market.

    The 1864 half eagle claims a proof mintage of 50 coins. PCGS and NGC report a combined 33 grading events across all categories. However, both these figures are misleading. While 50 proofs were struck, part of that production was almost certainly melted as unsold, and resubmissions and crossovers undoubtedly inflate the certification totals. Instead, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth propose a total population of 15 to 20 proofs in their Gold Encyclopedia, while PCGS CoinFacts estimates 18 to 22 proofs extant. These survivorship totals make the 1864 Liberty Head half eagle proof both very rare in the absolute sense while also ranking among the more collectible No Motto five dollar proofs in relative terms.

    Aside from the obvious care with which this proof was struck, diagnostic markers include a prominent die scratch below Liberty's ear, and the date placed high and left with the left base of the 1 nearly over the space between two dentils.

    Each side boasts deep orange-gold color. Fully struck motifs stand out from profoundly reflective, textured fields, delivering the bold Cameo contrast that makes proofs of this vintage so attractive. Identifying grade-limiting contact marks can pose a challenge, considering how few and how minor they are in nature. An alloy spot on the rim near star 13 is the most obvious pedigree identifier. Population: 1 in 64 Cameo, 4 finer, including Deep Cameo (10/17).
    Ex: Paramount (8/1969), lot 1969; Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, Part IV (Bowers and Merena, 11/2000), lot 488. (NGC ID# 28BZ, PCGS# 88454)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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