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    1871 Half Eagle, PR65 Cameo
    Finest Certified at PCGS
    Ex: Garrett-Bass

    1871 $5 PR65 Cameo PCGS. CAC. Garrett and Guth give a great summation of the proof 1871 half eagle's allure, saying the date "is another of the very low-mintage issues of the 1870s that seldom appear on the market. The original mintage for the issue was just 30 coins, and it is probably that fewer than 10 coins still survive. One coin is in the collection of the Smithsonian, and another example resides with the American Numismatic Society." The authors go on to enumerate the privately held examples they know, including those of Byron Reed, Harry W. Bass, Jr. (the present coin and one impaired specimen), and the Trompeter coin. We have compiled a roster of all specimens known to us below.

    While Heritage has handled the Trompeter specimen on a private basis, the present coin is the only example Heritage has presented at auction (this is its second Heritage appearance). Considering the million-plus entries for coins in Heritage's Permanent Auction Archives, this is a great testament to the true rarity of the proof 1871 half eagle, both in terms of absolute rarity and infrequency of appearance on the market.
    This coin traces its history to two of the greatest U.S. gold collections of all time, the Garrett and Bass Collections. The pleasing yellow-gold surfaces have a handful of very light hairlines, though nothing to seriously jeopardize the PR65 Cameo designation of this moderately contrasted coin. Both sides are stunningly beautiful, and with its amazing aesthetics and undeniably rarity, this coin should prove irresistible to the proof gold connoisseur. Population: 1 in 65 Cameo, 0 finer (7/14).

    Roster of 1871 Proof Half Eagles
    1. PR65 Cameo PCGS. T. Harrison Garrett; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection (Stack's, 3/1976), lot 442; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bass Collection, Part IV (Bowers and Merena, 11/2000), lot 508; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 1/2008), lot 534; Chicago Signature (Heritage, 8/2011), lot 7564. The present coin.
    2. PR65 uncertified. Possibly George Seavey, part of a complete proof set ordered directly from the Mint in 1871; Seavey Descriptive Catalog (William Strobridge, 6/1873), lot 833; Lorin G. Parmelee, who purchased Seavey's collection intact before the date of the sale; Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), part of lot 1376; Harlan P. Smith; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 524.
    3. Proof 65 uncertified. ANA Convention Auction (Steve Ivy, 8/1980), lot 259; Ed Trompeter; Heritage Auctions, circa 1999; private collection.
    4. Choice Proof uncertified. Byron Reed; City of Omaha; Durham Western Heritage Museum; Byron Reed Collection (Christie's-Spink America, 10/1996), lot 141.
    5. Brilliant Proof uncertified. Nathan M. Kaufman; Kaufman Collection (RARCOA, 8/1978), lot 839.
    6. PR53 PCGS. ANA Convention Sale (Stack's, 8/1971), lot 2212; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bass Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1173.
    7. PR45 uncertified. Brilliant-Sieck Collections (Bowers and Merena, 1/1992), lot 2790.
    8. PR64 Cameo uncertified. A specimen in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
    9. Proof uncertified. R.C.H. Brock; J.P. Morgan; American Numismatic Society.

    Additional Appearances
    A. Proof. Heman Ely; Ely Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, 1/1884), lot 950, part of a six-piece gold proof set.
    B. Proof. Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 422, part of a six-piece gold proof set.
    C. Proof. William B. Wetmore Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 6/1906), lot 155, part of a six-piece gold proof set.
    D. Proof. William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1692.
    E. Impaired Proof, XF. Milton A. Holmes Collection (Stack's, 10/1960), lot 3549, possibly number 6 or 7 above.
    F. Impaired Proof. Samuel Wolfson Collection (Stack's, 10/1962), lot 499, possibly number 6 or 7 above.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 3ZLL, PCGS# 88466)

    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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    Auction Dates
    September, 2014
    4th-6th Thursday-Saturday
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