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    1875 Half Eagle, PR64 Cameo
    Premier Series Rarity
    Only Nine Proofs Believed Known in Private Hands

    1875 $5 PR64 Cameo NGC. The 1875 half eagle is one of the classic gold rarities of the 19th century. The Philadelphia Mint struck only a token quantity of 200 circulation strikes that year, along with a paltry 20 proofs. Of the regular issue, fewer than 10 coins are believed to survive, and of the proof issue, only a dozen specimens are known to us, including two pieces in the Smithsonian Institution and a third in the ANS; neither museum collection contains an example of the circulation issue.

    An extensive study of auction records and known private sales produces pedigrees for what we believe to be just nine different proofs still in private collections, including the present coin. We have been unable to record specific provenance for this coin prior to its current appearance, although it likely traces its origin to one or more of the auctions listed below under Additional Appearances. Since 1993, our auction archives show previous offerings of only three of these proofs, while the more actively traded circulation issue has appeared in our auctions six times during the same period. Although the circulation issue is more highly heralded, its proof counterpart is equally as rare on the market, and as can be seen by the current coin, usually possesses significantly higher aesthetic merit.

    This proof is characterized by deep, gleaming mirrors and softly frosted motifs. A lack of complete definition on the arrow fletchings and the eagle's neck is characteristic of the proof issue, although this coin is otherwise razor-sharp. Rich honey-gold surfaces have a few trivial hairlines, as allowed by the grade, but lack any significant marks. Eye appeal is exceptional. This Choice proof Cameo will be a hallmark addition to a high-end Liberty half eagle collection.

    Roster of Proof 1875 Half Eagles
    Note: Plate matching is extremely difficult with this issue, as most examples show few pedigree markers and catalog images often lack explicit detail. We would not be surprised to learn some duplication is present in the roster below. It seems likely that some of these coins were included in the collections of "Colonel" Green and Virgil Brand at some time, but we have no specific documentation on that subject.
    1. PR66 Cameo NGC. Byron Reed; City of Omaha; Durham Western Heritage Museum; Byron Reed Collection (Spink-Christie's 10/1996), lot 174; Morrison-Licht Collections (Stack's, 3/2005), lot 1968; 70th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/2005), lot 1246; possibly Baltimore Auction (Stack's Bowers, 11/2010), lot 5042, realized $143,750. Note: NGC no longer lists any coin graded PR66 Cameo in its Census (4/15).
    2. PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. Dallas and Newport Beach Sale (Heritage, 6/1987), lot 4432; Ed Trompeter; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection; ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2015).
    3. PR65 Cameo PCGS. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/1999), Lot 8145; Richard Genaitis Collection (Heritage, 8/2001), lot 7849; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2014), lot 5462, realized $176,250.
    4. PR64 Cameo NGC. The present coin.
    5. PR64 Cameo PCGS. Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 7/2002), lot 816.
    6. PR64 PCGS. Heman Ely, part of a complete gold proof set; W. Elliot Woodward; purchased by T. Harrison Garrett in 1883; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection (Stack's, 3/1976), lot 454; Auction '90 (David Akers, 8/1990), lot 1776; Wes Rasmussen Collection (Superior, 2/1998), lot 3416; Pre-Long Beach Sale (Superior, 5/1999), lot 3538; Pre-Long Beach Sale (Superior, 9/2005), lot 1873.
    7. PR64 PCGS. Mumford-Kalbfleisch-Hayden Collections (New York Coin & Stamp, 4/1896), lot 543; John M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate; purchased by Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 536; Dennis Mendelson Collection (Superior, 2/1991), lot 2804; Chicago Sale (Superior, 8/1991), lot 722.
    8. PR64 PCGS. Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 7/1997), lot 369; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 5/2001), lot 9039.
    9. PR64. King Farouk; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 256; Abe Kosoff; Harold Bareford Collection (Stack's, 12/1978), lot 189; Auction '89 (David Akers, 7/1989), lot 1394.
    10. PR64 Deep Cameo, per Garrett and Guth. National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
    11. Proof. R.C.H. Brock; J.P. Morgan; American Numismatic Society.
    12. PR60, polished, per Garrett and Guth. National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

    Additional Appearances
    A. Proof. Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1397, part of a complete minor, silver, and gold proof set split between four lots in the catalog.
    B. Proof. Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 426, part of a complete gold proof set.
    C. Proof. Major William B. Wetmore Collection (S.H. & H. Chapman, 6/1906), lot 158, part of a complete gold proof set; William Forrester Dunham Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1941), lot 2153.
    D. Proof. William H. Woodin, exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition, possibly Waldo Newcomer; F.C.C. Boyd; World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946), lot 429.
    E. Proof. Colonel James W. Flanagan Collection (Stack's, 3/1944), lot 1153.
    F. Proof. Jacob Shapiro (aka J.F. Bell); Bell Collection (Stack's, 12/1944), lot 399.
    G. Proof. William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1696.
    H. Proof, impaired. H.R. Lee Collection (Stack's, 10/1947), lot 1298.
    I. Proof. Adolphe Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 1520.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 28CC, PCGS# 88470)

    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, 2015
    17th-20th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
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