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    Gem Cameo Proof 1881 Half Eagle

    1881 $5 PR65 Cameo NGC. CAC. David Akers, in his justly famous United States Gold Coins: An Analysis of Auction Records, points out the split identity of the 1881 half eagle between Mint State and proof pieces. He writes of the former: "The 1881 has the highest mintage in the entire Half Eagle series and it is very common in all grades. In fact, this is probably the most common $5 gold piece." Of the latter, he notes: "Proofs are very rare and seldom offered."
    For a more recent perspective, Garrett and Guth state in the Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins: "The 1881 half eagle is very rare in Proof, with just 15 to 20 examples known in all grades. Of the few coins seen at auction and listed on the population studies, several are impaired. ... Proof gold coins from this era were not always preserved with great care. Due to the high face value, many were lost after entering circulation."
    This Cameo Gem specimen, of course, is a gorgeous exception to the rule. Its lemon-yellow fields are boldly reflective with only minor suggestions of hazy patina. Cameo contrast is strong on both sides, with that of the reverse a trifle bolder. A small spot is noted under Liberty's chin and a few stray lines are seen away from the frosted devices, yet the overall eye appeal remains impressive. An excellent opportunity for the classic gold proof enthusiast to acquire this challenging date. Census: 2 in 65 Cameo, 4 finer (11/10).
    From The Henry Miller Collection.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 28CJ, PCGS# 88476)

    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 Henry Miller Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    5th-9th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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