Proof-Only 1887 Half Eagle, PR64 Cameo1887 $5 PR64 Cameo NGC. The 1887 proof five has the easy-to-remember mintage of the last two years of the date, 87. Writing 20+ years ago, Walter Breen stated: "Coins offered in lower grade must be authenticated because many forgeries were made by removing S from 1887 S coins, and some of these have date position same as the proofs." Frankly, it is difficult to imagine that the mintmark area could be effectively effaced and that the fields would have strong enough remaining reflectivity to resemble a proof, but such items were more frequently forged in the "bad old days" before third-party certification.
Most of the proofs struck did not survive. A reasonable estimate of the number extant is around 30 pieces in all grades. Bringing scholarship of rare gold coins forward 20 years from Breen's reference, Garrett and Guth point out that: "Many probably entered circulation, as this date has the largest number of impaired examples seen for Proof issues of the 1880s." Another interesting aspect of the 1887 is offered: "Though more examples of this date than of others of the 1880s have been offered at auction, none have been at the gem level." That is no longer true, but our records indicate that only one Cameo Gem has been sold at public auction in recent years, a piece we sold at our 2007 FUN Auction for $103,500. This lovely Cameo example is one of only eight that have been certified by both of the major services in PR64, and a mere six Gems have been graded (11/10).
The fields on this piece are deeply reflective, as one would expect, and show noticeable orange-peel texture when closely examined. The devices are moderately frosted and give the coin its Cameo designation. Even reddish-gold color is seen over each side and there are no mentionable contact marks.
From The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 3YPF, PCGS# 88482)
Weight: 8.36 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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