1888 Half Eagle, Proof 66 Ultra Cameo NGC1888 $5 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC. The Philadelphia Mint produced 18,296 business strike and 95 proof half eagles dated 1888. Proof survivors are understandably rare. Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins estimates that 30 to 35 proof examples survive, but they are more easily obtainable than Mint State representatives. Breen's proof coin Encyclopedia comments: "Date very low and to left, slanting up slightly to r.; polish around eye, mouth, and ear; left base of 1 over left edge. Rev. Polish within stripes, unlike the last few years. Rarer than lower denominations, much rarer than its mintage figure suggests ..." All of these diagnostics are observable on the present specimen. A search through our permanent auction archives, which date back to 1991, reveals a single Proof 65 example to be the highest graded specimen offered prior to the present specimen. This example has snappy, gold-on-black contrast between the deep, glassy fields and the devices with heavy, wintry frost. The fields are remarkably smooth and problem-free. Accuracy compels mention of a tiny obverse scrape between star two and Liberty's neck, visible only under a glass. The highpoint details of the coronet and the eagle are sharp and well defined. This is an opportunity to acquire a premium example of this difficult and virtually unimprovable issue. NGC's Census Report shows this to be the sole specimen graded in Proof 66 Ultra Cameo, with one coin, a Proof 67 Ultra Cameo, graded higher (11/05).
Ex: Byron Reed Collection (Spink/Christie's, 10/96), lot 147, which realized $18,700.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 28CS, PCGS# 98483)
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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