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    Elusive PR66 Ultra Cameo 1899 Half Eagle

    1899 $5 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC. This 1899 half eagle, graded PR66 Ultra Cameo by NGC, is the finest example--by two grade points!--that we at Heritage have ever had the privilege to offer of this elusive issue. Only eight times before since we began maintaining auction records have we featured a proof 1899 Liberty half eagle, with seven of those in PR64 and one in PR62.
    This piece is also the finest in terms of cameo contrast, as it is the only Deep/Ultra Cameo certified specimen we have ever offered, regardless of numeric grade. (This is an interesting observation, in that it contradicts the truism that most 1898-1900 proof gold coins are found with deep cameo contrast.) In fact, the total certified population of 1899 half eagles in all grades at NGC and PCGS combined is only 58 coins. Of those, only 15 pieces in all grades are certified as Deep or Ultra Cameo, with an additional 17 pieces designated as Cameo.
    More specifically, the present PR66 Ultra Cameo example is one of three so certified at NGC, with one PR67 Ultra Cameo and four PR68 Ultra Cameos finer (as always, minus resubmissions, which likely account for a considerable percentage of the certified numbers at these lofty levels) (1/08).
    There is certainly no doubt about the Ultra Cameo status of this piece. This 109-year-old half eagle looks like a Franklin Mint product! There is maximum contrast between the heavily frosted devices and the unfathomable depth of reflectivity in the fields. The surfaces are nearly perfect, as one would expect from the grade, and the fields show the rippling, orange-peel effect commonly seen on proof gold from the late 1800s.
    Besides the usually fine distinctions between one grade level and another or between Cameo and Ultra Cameo contrast, consider for a moment, in a larger sense, just how rare proof gold really is: Of the more than 26,000 offerings of Liberty Head half eagles currently in Heritage's auction archives, only a bit more than 1%--325 pieces, to be exact--are proofs!
    From The Ultra Collection.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 28D5, PCGS# 98494)

    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 Ultra Collection ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2008
    6th-7th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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    Los Angeles, CA
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