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    1885 Liberty Five, PR67 Ultra Cameo
    Tied for Finest Certified
    Ex: Trompeter

    1885 $5 PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC. Mint records indicate 66 proof Liberty half eagles were struck in 1885, a minuscule production total in absolute terms, but still a sharp increase from the year before. The coins were struck in all four quarters of the year, with the great majority minted in the first and fourth quarters. Walter Breen believed none were melted at the Mint, but if all these coins were actually distributed, the survival rate was extremely low. Breen notes this issue is "Extremely rare, more so than its mintage suggests; enough so as to be almost a forgotten coin." Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth estimate the surviving population at approximately 20 coins in all grades, including two pieces in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and another in the collection of the American Numismatic Society. The leading grading services list a combined total of 40 submissions, but this figure is definitely skewed by resubmissions and crossovers (4/15).

    The 1885 proof half eagle began appearing at auction at least as early as December of 1890, when an example was offered as part of a six-piece gold proof set in lot 436 of the Chapman brothers' sale of the Thomas Cleneay Collection. The lot realized $46, a typically modest premium for the $41.50 face value set. Gold proof coins commanded only small premiums when offered at auction in the 19th century, as this lot demonstrates. The situation is much different today, and the current prices realized record for an 1885 proof half eagle is the $63,250 brought by a PR66 Deep Cameo PCGS coin in the Stack's Bowers 2012 ANA sale.

    The present coin is tied for finest-certified with two other coins at NGC. The date is the diagnostically placed to the left of center, with the peak of the 1 near the bust truncation. The 5 in the date is closed and the 1 shows slight repunching. The design elements are sharply detailed throughout and the frosty devices seem to float on the deeply mirrored fields. The impeccably preserved yellow-gold surfaces show no post-strike imperfections and eye appeal is tremendous. Census: 3 in 67 Ultra Cameo, 0 finer (4/15).
    Ex: ANA Convention Auction (Bowers and Ruddy, 8/1978), lot 1518; Ed Trompeter Collection; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection.
    From The Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties.(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 Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties ]

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
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