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    1874 Half Eagle, PR65 Ultra Cameo
    Very Rare, Underrated Issue
    Ex: Garrett-Trompeter

    1874 $5 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. Ex: Trompeter. From a mintage of just 20 pieces, one of the lowest production totals of the era, the 1874 proof Liberty half eagle is one of the rarest issues of the series. It is often overshadowed by its more famous 1875 counterpart, because the extremely low business-strike mintages of that date naturally attract attention, but the 1874 proofs are at least as rare. Walter Breen commented on the 1874, "Almost a forgotten rarity" and David Akers said:

    "Proofs are extremely rare, seemingly more so than others with comparable mintages (20), and they rank with the proofs of 1861 and 1871 as the rarest and most underrated proofs after 1859."

    Garrett and Guth estimate fewer than 10 examples survive in all grades, with two specimens in the Smithsonian Institution and another in the collection of the American Numismatic Society. NGC and PCGS have combined to certify only six coins between them, but even that small total may include some duplication. We have listed nine separate examples of this issue in our roster below, with some earlier appearances that cannot be definitely linked to the coins in the main roster, due to lack of detail in catalog images, few distinctive pedigree markers on the coins, etc. It is possible that the Eliasberg coin (number 6 below) is actually a duplicate appearance of one of the other coins, but we believe it is a separate specimen. It is also possible that there are a few coins in oldtime collections that we are not aware of. Still, the best evidence indicates there are no more than 9 or 10 specimens extant.

    The present coin is a spectacular Gem with sharply detailed design elements and deeply mirrored fields that contrast profoundly with the frosty devices. The date is diagnostically positioned well to the left and the letters in UNITED STATES are not doubled, as they are on the rare business strikes. The well-preserved orange-gold surfaces are free of mentionable flaws, but a few striations show in the right obverse field near stars 10 through 13. Overall eye appeal is outstanding and this coin boasts an illustrious pedigree to the famous Garrett and Trompeter collections. Census: 1 in 65 Ultra Cameo, 2 finer (4/15).

    Roster of 1874 Proof Half Eagles
    1. PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC. Auction '85 (Paramount, 7/1985), lot 1440; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bass Collection, Part IV (Bowers and Merena, 11/2000), lot 520; William H. LaBelle, Sr. Collection (American Numismatic Rarities, 7/2005), lot 262; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 1/2008), lot 534, realized $126,500; Robert Simpson Collection; Boston Signature (Heritage, 8/2010), lot 3511.
    2. PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. Heman Ely; W. Elliot Woodward; purchased by T. Harrison Garrett on 9/5/1883; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection, Part I (Bowers and Ruddy, 11/1979), lot 486; Paramount; Ed Trompeter; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection. The present coin.
    3. PR65 ★ Cameo NGC. Baltimore Signature (Heritage, 7/2008), lot 1981. Dallas Signature (Heritage, 10/2008), lot 2170; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5126; Rarities Night (Stack's Bowers, 8/2011), lot 7691.
    4. PR64 PCGS. King Farouk; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 256; Abe Kosoff; Harold Shaw Bareford; Bareford Collection (Stack's, 12/1978), lot 186; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bass Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1193.
    5. PR64 PCGS. Commodore Matthew C. Perry Collection (Bowers and Merena, 1/1995), lot 1205.
    6. Choice Brilliant Proof 65. William H. Woodin Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 10/1904), lot 22; John M. Clapp; 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 533.
    7. PR64 Deep Cameo, per Garrett and Guth. Mint Cabinet; National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
    8. PR60, impaired, per Garrett and Guth. National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
    9. Proof. Robert C. H. Brock; J.P. Morgan; American Numismatic Society.

    Additional Appearances
    A. Proof. Possibly Phineas Adams; William J. Jenks; 69th Sale (John W. Haseltine, 6/1883), lot 411.
    B. Proof. Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1393, offered with the eagle and quarter eagle from a six-piece gold proof set; possibly William Woodin, exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition.
    C. Proof. Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 425, part of a six-piece gold proof set.
    D. Proof. David S. Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), lot 334, part of a six-piece gold proof set, realized $165 to Henry Chapman.
    E. Proof. Jacob Shapiro (aka J.F. Bell); J.F. Bell Collection (Stack's, 12/1944), lot 398.
    F. Proof. William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1695.
    G. Brilliant Proof. Amon G. Carter Family Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 686.
    H. Brilliant Proof 65. Dr. Jerry Buss Collection (Superior, 1/1985), lot 1828.
    I. PR64. Bullet Sale (Heritage, 11/1990), lot 396.
    Ex: Ed Trompeter Collection; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection.
    From The Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28CB, PCGS# 98469)

    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 Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties ]

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