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    1893 Half Eagle, PR66 ★ Ultra Cameo
    Only Two Finer Certified
    Ex: Trompeter

    1893 $5 PR66 ★ Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. Ex: Trompeter. Philadelphia Mint proof coins were struck on a hydraulic press for the first time in 1893. In previous years they had been coined using the screw press normally used for medals. A meager mintage of just 77 proof Liberty half eagles was accomplished, and it is doubtful if even that small number of coins was ever distributed. A handful of elite coin collectors, like James Ten Eyck, John M. Clapp, and David S. Wilson, could be depended upon to update their collections by purchasing complete gold proof sets from the Philadelphia Mint every year in the early 1890s. Unfortunately, at $37.50 face value plus the proofing charge and postage, such items were beyond the reach of the average collector of those times. Certainly fewer than 77 numismatists were interested in investing so much money in their collections in 1893, when the Panic of 1893 caused widespread economic hardship and forced the closing of more than 500 banks and 15,000 businesses.

    Of course, it was possible to order proof coins singly during this time period (after 1879), rather than in complete sets, which made collecting the smaller denominations much more affordable and popular. However, this option was most appealing to collectors of quarter eagles (and the one and three dollar gold denominations, before they were cancelled in 1889). The fives, tens, and twenties were just too expensive for all but the most well-heeled 19th century collectors, and it is likely that many of the 77 proof half eagles struck in 1893 went unsold, and were subsequently melted. Probably no more than 25-35 examples are extant, including at least three pieces in institutional collections.

    Because they were not widely collected at the time, proof 1893 half eagles commanded only small premiums when offered at auction in the 19th century, but prices realized have been rising precipitously since the 1930s. The current record price realized for the issue is the $111,625 brought by the spectacular PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC specimen in a Goldberg sale in 2014.

    This delightful Premium Gem shows the diagnostic placement of the date, well-left of center, and a vertical die line in front of Liberty's eye. The design elements are sharply detailed, with a rich coat of mint frost that produces intense cameo contrast with the deeply mirrored fields. The orange-gold surfaces are impeccably preserved and overall visual appeal is terrific. Census: 2 in 66 Ultra Cameo (1 in 66 Ultra Cameo), 2 finer (5/15).
    Ex: Ed Trompeter Collection; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection.
    From The Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 28CX, PCGS# 98488)

    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 Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties ]

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
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