Rare 1864 Five Dollar, PR65 Ultra Cameo1864 $5 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. The 1864 half eagle has a low mintage whether found as a circulation strike or proof. Only 4,220 pieces were produced as business strikes. However, even more impressive is the output of a mere 50 proofs. There have been a total of 35 submission events from both services for this date in all grades and degree of contrast. This seems like an unrealistically high number. Akers (1980) stated: "The proof mintage for this year is higher than for other dates of the period but since 1864 proofs do not appear any more often than the others, it is probable that a portion of the original mintage was melted." It seems realistic to us than only 12-15 individual proofs may still exist. So, it seems obvious that a fair number of resubmissions are included in the total of 35 coins graded. Of the coins that have been certified, only five other proofs have achieved this grade (one at PCGS and four others at NGC). Three pieces are finer (all NGC certified).
An interesting diagnostic of this date is all proofs show a short, angling die scratch (or die break) just below Liberty's ear. Another diagnostic is slight granularity on the lower obverse rim between 3 and 6 o'clock. On this piece it is slight and one has to know to look for it (meaning magnification is required). This is a beautiful, bright yellow-gold coin that has illimitable depth of mirrored reflectivity in the fields. The devices stand in stark contrast to the dark fields and show thick mint frost over all the devices. The only contact marks that might aid in tracing the pedigree of this important proof are a pair of reeding marks in the left obverse field between stars 4 an 5.
(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28BZ, PCGS# 98454)
Weight: 8.36 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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