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    1870 Five Dollar, PR64
    Exceedingly Rare

    1870 $5 PR64 PCGS. CAC. Ex H.W. Bass, Jr. Any proof half eagle dated in the 1800s is, by definition, rare. The high-water mark is 103 proofs produced in 1896. All other years have mintages under 100 pieces and many are recorded with less than 50 pieces struck. Falling into the latter category is the 1870 proof half eagle, which is a classic in the Motto series. Although 35 proofs were originally produced, PCGS estimates no more than 12 to 15 examples survive (and that may be generous). The current PCGS population is 2 in Proof 64 and none finer; the NGC census is 1 in Proof 64 Cameo and 1 in Proof 66 Cameo (11/13).

    Appearances by this date in proof format are so rare that once or twice in a decade would be considered optimistic. The remarkable 1870 proof offered here is the H.W. Bass, Jr. specimen that sold in November, 2000. Another memorable proof came out of the Ed Trompeter Collection in the mid 1990s, which is possibly the same as the Ohringer coin that sold in May, 2008. Akers concluded this date is "...very rare and for some unknown reason (they) have appeared at auction less than similar or lower mintage proofs of many other dates."

    This near-Gem proof has exceptional quality with a frosty, attractive cameo appearance. The vividly lustrous portrait, eagle and other devices all exhibit a needle-sharp strike and rich, honey-gold appeal.

    The diagnostics are correct with a high date slanting down to the right -- typical of the 1870 proof issue. The deeply mirrored fields show a few minor contact marks and wispy lines, none distracting, that apparently keep the coin from an even higher grade..

    Rarity aside, gold specialists and type collectors alike realize the chance to own a Motto Liberty half eagle proof is a singular achievement. When it is an 1870 proof with an impressive provenance the opportunity becomes almost irresistible.
    From The Usibelli Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28C7, PCGS# 8465)

    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 Usibelli Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2014
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
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