1871 Half Eagle, PR66 Cameo
    Underappreciated Proof Gold Rarity
    Ex: Trompeter

    1871 $5 PR66 Cameo NGC. Ex: Trompeter. From a reported mintage of 30 pieces, the 1871 proof Liberty half eagle is one of the most underrated issues of the series. According to David Akers:

    "Proofs are much rarer than the mintage would indicate but the reason for this is not clear. I doubt if as many as ten survive, and only the 1861 is more rare among proof Half Eagles after 1859."

    Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth echo Akers' estimate, saying "fewer than 10 coins survive" with one example in the Smithsonian Institution and another in the collection of the American Numismatic Society. NGC and PCGS have combined to certify nine examples between them, including an unknown number of resubmissions and crossovers, and three coins in impaired condition (4/15). We have compiled a roster of the nine coins known to us below.

    The coin offered here is the finest certified Cameo example at either grading service. It traces its history to the fabulous Trompeter Collection, almost certainly the finest collection of proof gold ever assembled. The design elements are sharply detailed, except for the slightest softness on the arrow fletching, and the deeply mirrored fields create intense cameo contrast with the frosty devices. The impeccably preserved orange-gold surfaces add to the terrific eye appeal. Census: 1 in 66 Cameo, 0 finer (4/15).

    Roster of 1871 Proof Half Eagles
    1. PR66 Cameo NGC. ANA Convention Auction (Steve Ivy, 8/1980), lot 259; Ed Trompeter; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection.
    2. 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; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2014), lot 3430, realized $70,500.
    3. 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.
    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.
    Ex: Ed Trompeter Collection; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection.
    From The Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 3ZLL, PCGS# 88466)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View all of [The Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties ]

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
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