Seldom-Seen 1865 Half Eagle, PR65 Ultra Cameo
    Perhaps a Dozen Survive in All Grades

    1865 $5 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. Proof gold coins of the Civil War era go far beyond the caviar of American numismatics; to mix metaphors horribly, they are the hen's teeth among the caviar of American numismatics. The 1865 half eagle is a case in point. The recorded mintage was low to begin with, a meager production of 25 pieces, but Garrett and Guth opine that only 10 to 12 examples survive today, including two permanently impounded in the collections of the Smithsonian and the American Numismatic Society.
    In addition to its low mintage, the 1865 half eagle is popular as the last no Motto issue and the final emission from the Civil War years. The issue's desirability is further enhanced by the low availability of the business strikes of the year, of which only 1,270 pieces were struck. "Transitional" patterns in gold and copper are known of the issue in gold and copper (Judd-449 and -450, respectively), combining the regular obverse die with the Motto reverse die of 1866 and afterward.
    NGC has certified only this single Gem Ultra Cameo coin at this grade level and one finer in PR66 Ultra Cameo, and there are 10 submissions at that service in Cameo grades ranging from PR64 (six) to PR67 (one). PCGS has also certified three examples in PR64 Deep Cameo and eight in non-Cameo grades, ranging from impaired PR53 to a single PR66. It is a safe bet, however, that those 23 submissions at both services may represent as few as a dozen or so coins.
    The surfaces are fully struck on each side of this Gem proof, with the sole exception of the eagle's right (facing) claw. The fields and devices are highly contrasted, showing optimal "gold-on-black" contrast when tilted under a light. A couple of shallow planchet depressions near the 5 in the date are Mint-made and just barely noticeable. Census: 1 in 65 Ultra Cameo, 1 finer (2/12).
    From The William D. Plumley Collection.(Registry values: P4) (PCGS# 98455)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View all of [The William D. Plumley Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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