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    Magnificent 1899 Liberty Head Half Eagle
    Rare PR68 Ultra Cameo
    Tied for Finest Certified

    1899 $5 PR68 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. From a tiny proof mintage of only 99 pieces, the present coin is a virtually perfect example of the coiner's art at the end of the 19th century. Only four 1899 half eagles have been certified in PR68 Ultra Cameo by NGC, with none finer, while PCGS has yet to see any examples at this exalted level (6/09). Heritage has had the privilege of offering an 1899 proof half eagle on 10 previous occasions: one coin in PR62, seven examples in PR64, one coin in PR66 Ultra Cameo, and just one specimen in PR68 Ultra Cameo.
    The coin offered here is tied for the honor of highest technical grade ever offered for this rare date, and its spectacular visual appeal is a match for that elevated designation. Concerning the availability of 1899 proof half eagles, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth comment, "The number of coins seen by the grading services is obviously inflated by resubmissions, but there are still around 35-40 coins known in all grades. All Proof Liberty half eagles are quite rare, and the 1899 issue is popular as the last issue from the 1800s."
    At the end of the 19th century, it was customary for advanced collectors to order proof sets every year to update their collections with the finest available specimens of the current coinage. An example of this practice can be seen in the Peter Mougey Collection (Thomas Elder, 9/1910), where lots 1247 through 1268 reveal the collector had ordered various proof denominations from the Mint every year from 1882 to 1903. Lot 1264 reads, "1899 $10, $5 and $2 1/2. Brilliant. Scarce lot." Apparently, Mougey did not collect double eagles systematically, as the sole examples offered in his entire collection were the proof-only 1883 and 1884 dates.
    The splendid coin offered here shows profound contrast, with the characteristic black-on-gold flash expected of an Ultra Cameo specimen. The flawless fields exhibit the rippling orange-peel texture seen on all proofs of this era. This example is a strong candidate for Finest Known, and should find a home in one of the leading Registry Sets.
    From The Bay State Collection, Part Two.(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 Bay State Collection, Part Two ]

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    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2009
    31st-2nd Friday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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