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    1885 Half Eagle, Superb Gem Proof Ultra Cameo
    Tied for Finest Certified

    1885 $5 PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC. The 1885 half eagle saw a proof mintage of 66 pieces, complementing a healthy quota of more than 600,000 business strikes. Nonetheless, far fewer proof examples survive today than the production total suggests. Walter Breen wrote in his 1989 Proof Encyclopedia that "[the issue is] extremely rare, more so than its mintage suggests; enough so as to be almost a forgotten coin." He provided no estimate of survivors beyond writing the issue was rarer than the 1885 quarter eagle, of which he estimated 30 proofs survive.
    Two decades later, in 2008, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth had lowered the estimated survivors even further, commenting, "There are perhaps 20 or so examples known. Many coins of the original mintage probably entered circulation or were melted as unsold." Their estimate also includes the two proof coins in the Smithsonian, which would leave only 18 or so available to collectors.
    As in so many other cases, the certified populations do little to add clarity to the situation, as the combined total of 40 unimpaired proofs at NGC and PCGS combined appear overblown with duplications.
    In any case, the present Superb Gem Ultra Cameo proof is one of six such submissions at NGC, and there are none finer, making this piece tied for the highest graded at either service (11/12). (The finest Deep Cameo at PCGS is a sole example in PR65.) The viewer is greeted by a blatant display of contrast on each side of this piece, producing a "gold on black" effect. There are no mentionable signs of contact, although a few faint field hairlines appear under a loupe, intermingled with abundant orange-peel texture. For pedigree purposes we mention a tiny planchet defect, as made, on Liberty's chin.
    From The Victoria Rose Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 37X8, PCGS# 98480)

    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 Victoria Rose Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
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