Cameo Gem Proof-Only 1887 Half Eagle Single Finest Certified by PCGS

    1887 $5 PR65 Cameo PCGS. The double eagle series has three proof-only dates, the 1883, 1884, and 1887. The three dollar series has two proof-only dates, the 1875 and 1876. But there is only a single proof-only half eagle date, the 1887. Considering that the San Francisco Mint struck more than five million half eagles between 1886 and 1887, demand obviously existed for half eagles, but only on the West Coast. High mintages of half eagles and eagles were struck at Philadelphia between 1880 and 1882, presumably because the Treasury believed that gold coins would circulate once they achieved parity with Federal paper money. But, Easterners preferred the convenience of the Greenback, and there was apparently a surplus of gold coins at the Treasury until the early 1890s, when mintages of half eagles once more began to increase.
    This is a magnificent Gem with pleasing reflectivity and radiant straw-gold devices. The strike is virtually full, barely insufficient only the hair beneath the E in LIBERTY and on the eagle's fletchings. The impressive contrast and undisturbed fields combine for exquisite eye appeal. For pedigree purposes alone, we note two minuscule lintmarks near the D in UNITED, the first centered beneath the base, and the second near the northeast portion of the curve.
    The proof-only 1887 has a tiny mintage of 87 pieces. To put this figure into perspective, it is less than one-tenth the production of the famous proof 1895 Morgan dollar. The mintage is also less than that of the proof-only 1887 double eagle, for which 121 pieces were struck. PCGS has certified a total of 12 examples of the 1887 half eagle, but five of these are in PR55 to PR60 grades, which suggests they are impaired. At the Gem level, PCGS has certified only two pieces, a PR65 and a PR65 Cameo, with none finer. Thus, the present lot is the single finest certified PCGS 1887 half eagle, and as such, is of the greatest importance to the proof gold specialist.
    From The Dr. Robert J. Loewinger Collection.(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.

    View all of [The Dr. Robert J. Loewinger Collection ]

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    January, 2007
    3rd-6th Wednesday-Saturday
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