Second Rare 1876 Half Eagle, Proof 65 Ultra Cameo

    1876 $5 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. A second example of this incredibly rare specimen striking that Heritage is privileged to offer in the present auction. Although seasoned numismatists know that this date is rare and seldom offered, it is possible that its light has been somewhat dimmed by its proximity to a much brighter light, the legendary 1875 half eagle, with a total mintage of 240 proofs and business strikes. Nonetheless, the 1876 is rare both as a business strike and as a proof. Only 1,432 circulation strikes were coined, plus 45 proofs. Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins says that all proof specimens, including the present example, share the same diagnostic, a small die lump on the neck just below the jaw, directly above the 1 in the date. On the present coin two parallel, raised die lines emerge from Liberty's hair above her head, running into the upright of the B in LIBERTY, with the leftmost (facing) line meeting the top serif and the rightmost meeting the lower serif. There is a raised lump on the back of Liberty's neck near the vertex that resembles a pimple. The present example shows heavy Cameo gold-on-black contrast between the highly reflective fields and the frost-laden devices. There are a few hairlines in the fields on this coin detectable under a loupe on both sides. The reverse shows a small rough area between the arrowheads and the eagle's right (facing) wing, also virtually undetectable without a glass. This presents an unparalleled opportunity for the date or type specialist to acquire one of the finest known examples of this date. PCGS has graded three examples in Proof 64 Deep Cameo, the highest in the Deep Cameo designation at that service. NGC's Census Report shows 18 examples of the 1876 in all Proof Cameo grades, while only two coins, this example and another in the present auction, have graded Proof 65 Ultra Cameo, with none finer (11/05).(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28CD, PCGS# 98471)

    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
    January, 2006
    3rd-7th Tuesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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