1887 Half Eagle, PR63 Ultra Cameo
1887 $5 PR63 Ultra Cameo NGC. The Philadelphia Mint
maintained a small and eccentric production of business-strike gold
coins in 1887: 7,500 gold dollars, 6,160 quarter eagles, 6,000
three dollar gold pieces, and 53,600 eagles. Completely omitted
were the half eagle and double eagle, available (then as now)
exclusively in proof format. The double eagles are more famous
today, but the proof 1887 half eagle has a distinctly smaller
mintage of only 87 pieces, compared to 121 proof twenties.
Proof-Only Mintage of 87 Pieces
The 1887 half eagle is also the sole proof-only issue in its With Motto series, a singular anomaly as compared to the trio of such dates among twenties. As is always the case, a significant number of proofs have been lost to time, and worn and otherwise impaired representatives are even more prevalent than usual; Garrett and Guth note, "Many probably entered circulation, as this date has the largest number of impaired examples seen for Proof issues of the 1880s."
Fortunately for collectors, this Select specimen survived to showcase its excellent Ultra Cameo contrast. While the reflective fields, pale yellow with subtle orange-peel texture, do show their share of contact marks, the contrast with the clearly frosted devices is delightful, particularly on the obverse. Any 1887 half eagle is rare and Ultra Cameo coins rarer still; this is the only PR63 Ultra Cameo certified by NGC and that service recognizes only one Ultra Cameo coin finer (11/13).
From the collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation.(Registry values: P5) (PCGS# 98482)
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 collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation ]
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