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    1899 Liberty Five, PR68 ★ Ultra Cameo
    Only One Finer Certified
    Ex: Eliasberg-Trompeter

    1899 $5 PR68 ★ Ultra Cameo NGC. Ex: Trompeter. As the last Liberty half eagle with a date from the 1800s, the 1899 proof five dollar gold piece has always been a sought-after issue. Only 99 proof half eagles were struck in 1899, a generous total compared to earlier issues, but far smaller than the mintages of succeeding years. Thankfully, contemporary collectors saved a number of high-quality specimens at the time of issue and the 1899 has a relatively high survival rate. The two leading grading services have combined to certify a total of 60 examples, but that figure is clearly distorted by resubmissions and crossovers (5/15). Probably no more than 35-40 coins survive today in all grades, including several specimens in institutional collections.

    The present coin claims an illustrious pedigree all the way back to its striking at the Philadelphia Mint. Astute 19th century collector John M. Clapp acquired this coin directly from the Mint in 1899. Clapp systematically updated his collection every year by ordering proof sets from the Philadelphia Mint. He was also among the first collectors to take a serious interest in mintmarked issues and he often ordered Uncirculated coins from the branch mints, as well. Clapp's collection passed to his son, John H. Clapp, after his death in 1906. The entire collection was eventually sold to super-collector Louis Eliasberg in 1942, after the younger Clapp died. Eliasberg made the Clapp holdings the foundation of his amazing collection, which he continued to expand and exhibit until his death in 1976. Eliasberg was the only collector in numismatic history to assemble a complete collection of United States coins by date, mintmark, and major variety. Proof gold specialist Ed Trompeter acquired the present coin when the gold portion of the Eliasberg Collection was sold by Bowers and Ruddy in 1982.

    This magnificent PR68 example is a virtually perfect coin, with unsurpassed eye appeal to complement its extraordinary technical quality. The date is diagnostically placed low and to the left and scattered die lines show on Liberty's ear. The left (facing) wing and some leaves in the olive branch show some minor loss of detail, due to excessive die polishing, but the design elements are strongly impressed throughout. The richly frosted devices contrast profoundly with the deeply mirrored fields to produce a breathtaking cameo effect and the impeccably preserved yellow-gold surfaces show the slight orange-peel texture of the best proofs of this era. Census: 3 in 68 Ultra Cameo (2 in 68 Ultra Cameo), 1 finer (5/15).
    Ex: Purchased directly from the Philadelphia Mint in 1899 by John M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 598; Ed Trompeter Collection; Heritage Auctions, circa 1998; private collection.
    From The Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties.(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 Ed Trompeter Collection of Proof $5 Liberties ]

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    12th-16th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
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