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    1896 Half Eagle, PR66 Deep Cameo
    A Coin of Remarkable Quality and Contrast

    1896 $5 PR66 Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC. It is not only the silver dollars of 1896 and 1898, but also the gold proof coins of those years, that are renowned as among the most high-quality and well-produced coins of their respective types. Perhaps it is because of the legions of Morgan collectors that the silver dollars have earned such a reputation, since there are considerably fewer collectors who can even dream of specializing in proof gold. But it is nonetheless true that the gold proof coins of 1896 and 1898 (and often, 1897 as well) deserve special attention, often more than they achieve.
    The present Premium Gem proof Deep Cameo PCGS half eagle is a fitting complement to the Liberty Head eagle in the same grade also offered in this Platinum Night auction. The mintage of the half eagle is recorded as 103 pieces versus only 78 for the eagle, but the half eagle also has a reputation of being "much rarer than its mintage suggests," according to the Breen Proof Encyclopedia.
    More recently, Garrett and Guth have added similar comments in their Gold Encyclopedia, second edition:

    "Although the mintage tops 100 coins for the first time, the 1896 half eagle is still a very rare coin in Proof. There are only 25 to 30 coins known in all grades. Many of these are graded PF-64, and gem examples are quite uncommon."

    As on its eagle counterpart, this half eagle has surfaces that "fade to black" with a slight tilt, producing the coveted gold-on-black appearance of proof gold that collectors so admire, and one that the 1896-98 coins are especially renowned for. A few tiny signs of contact on Liberty's neck are all that may preclude an even finer grade. The strike is full over surfaces that display orange-gold coloration throughout.
    PCGS has seen only three submissions in the quite uncommon grade of PR66 Deep Cameo, and there are none finer (2/12). NGC has seen four submissions in PR66, with two finer. This piece and the companion eagle in the same grade would make a wonderful start on a complete proof set of the year.
    From The William D. Plumley Collection.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 56BA, PCGS# 98491)

    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 William D. Plumley Collection ]

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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