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    Description

    Top-Notch 1877 Half Eagle, PR65 Cameo
    Among the Rarest Gold Proofs of the 1870s

    1877 $5 PR65 Cameo NGC. The 1877 half eagle proof is an issue that is exceedingly rare, surviving to the extent of less than 10 pieces in all probability, and that figure includes examples in the Smithsonian and ANS collections. The original mintage for the proofs of each denomination was 20 pieces (reportedly, at any rate), but today Garrett and Guth call the 1877 proof fives "a rarity of the highest magnitude."
    NGC currently shows only four grading events for the issue: this piece and one other in PR65 Cameo, along with a PR64+ Ultra Cameo and a PR66 Ultra Cameo. At PCGS four others appear, three in PR64, one in PR65 Deep Cameo. This makes a total of only eight submissions in all grades at both services combined, with some duplications likely.
    As far as we can determine, the present piece represents the first auction appearance at Heritage of a proof 1877 half eagle since we began maintaining our Permanent Auction Archives in 1993. Several auctions of PR64 PCGS examples occurred between 1990 and 2002 at various other numismatic companies, including Stack's, Bowers and Merena, and Superior, but none have occurred since 2002. Garrett and Guth, in the 2008 second edition of their Gold Encyclopedia, mention a 2005 auction of an uncertified proof that sold for $51,750. PCGS CoinFacts shows no auction results at all.
    Clearly, the 1877 half eagle is one that cannot be expected to appear at auctions even infrequently. The present PR65 Cameo NGC piece represents an opportunity for prospective bidders must make the most of the present opportunity to acquire one of the finest survivors of this extremely rare issue. Ample luster and a sharp strike appear over peach-gold surfaces with blatant field-device contrast. There are no overt marks, but magnification reveals a couple of almost imperceptible straight slide marks on the high points of Liberty's cheek. A tiny dark fleck near the rim at star 13 provides a pedigree marker. The surfaces display a moderate orange-peel effect. A bit of strike softness occurs on the high points of Liberty's hair, and correspondingly on the reverse on the arrow fletchings. These are minor quibbles, however, that do nothing to diminish either this coin's rarity in the marketplace or its desirability to collectors. Census: 2 in 65 Cameo, 0 finer (11/12).
    From The Dr. James Olsen Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 28CE, PCGS# 88472)

    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 Dr. James Olsen Collection ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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