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    Elusive Gem Proof 1892 Half Eagle, Ex: Pittman

    1892 $5 PR65 PCGS. Ex: Pittman. John J. Pittman is recognized both for the legendary quality of his collection and for his uncanny foresight in knowing what to collect--and how to obtain it--light-years before the vast numismatic marketplace caught up to him. Pittman was never a wealthy man, but he began collecting coins in the 1930s, cultivating an extensive network of collectors and dealers--Wayte Raymond, B.G. Johnson, John Zug, B. Max Mehl, Norm Shultz, J.V. McDermott, Abe Kosoff, Barney Bluestone--who helped him to obtain the rare pieces, both U.S. and foreign, that he was interested in.
    Speaking more generally about assembling a collection of early proof gold coins, Pittman said:

    I was trying to get as many of the early proofs, from the time that we believe they started making proof gold coins, on up through 1859. I consider the late dates from 1860 on. The same way with U.S. proof silver and copper. I am more interested in the proofs before 1859 than I am afterward. There are so few of them. They are very rare, extremely rare.

    Pittman was notably circumspect about his collection, many pieces of which were legendary rarities that he would never admit to owning until he perhaps exhibited them at an ANA convention. Today collectors realize that, with all due respect to pre-1860 proof gold, many later-date proof gold pieces are also quite elusive. The present 1892 gold coin is a case in point: Despite its nominal mintage of 92 pieces, only about 20 or 30 examples are known today, including some in tightly held collectionsand museums. This example borders on a Cameo designation, with deeply mirrored fields and frosty devices. The orange-gold surfaces are distraction-free, but the strike is somewhat soft through the centers. A lovely coin with an illustrious and historic pedigree. Certified in a green-label holder. PCGS has graded only this single piece MS65, with one finer. There is also a single PR66 Cameo piece at that service (9/06).
    From The Hamburg-Sonoma Collection.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 28CW, PCGS# 8487)

    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 Hamburg-Sonoma Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    24th-25th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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