1900 Half Eagle, PR66+ Cameo
    Rare This Well-Preserved
    Sole Plus-Designated Cameo in This Grade

    1900 $5 PR66+ Cameo NGC. For unknown reasons, there was a sharp spike in proof half eagle production in 1900, with a total of 230 coins produced. This more than doubled the previous year's mintage of 99 proofs, and also dwarfed the following year's production of 140 coins. Surprisingly, though, the 1900 proof is no more available today than are most other issues of the period, leading to the generally accepted reasoning that a number of pieces must have been melted as unsold at the end of the year, or wound up being spent or melted later on.

    Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth estimate only 75 to 100 pieces are known in all grades, a figure that is fairly close to the NGC and PCGS certified population totals, which count 121 coins, including an unknown number of resubmissions (12/14). These pieces are fairly scattered across the grade spectrum, as well as between the Deep Cameo, Cameo, and non-Cameo categories, with the former two groups being significantly the smallest.

    This Plus-designated Premium Gem Cameo is a visual marvel and is technically impeccable. All design elements are sharply brought up and display a distinct coating of fresh mint frost, set against deeply mirrored and carefully preserved fields. Close study with a loupe reveals some faint, parallel die polishing lines in the fields and on the relief elements (mint-made), and should not be confused with hairlines or other post-mint surface impairments. The quality and visual appeal of this piece is exceptional. NGC has certified only five Cameos in PR66 -- this coin being the sole Plus-graded example -- with just four numerically finer (12/14). A premium quality turn-of-the-century proof five.(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 3YDH, PCGS# 88495)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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