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    Sharp Premium Gem Proof 1888 Half Eagle

    1888 $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 those diagnostics are observable on the present specimen, which also displays 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 mark between star 2 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 a significant opportunity to acquire a Premium Gem proof 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 just one coin, a Proof 67 Ultra Cameo, graded higher. The finest specimen at PCGS is a single PR66 Cameo; there are no Deep Cameo 1888 pieces at that service (2/07).
    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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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2007
    15th-16th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,406

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