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    Seldom-Seen 1903 Half Eagle, PR67 Cameo
    Unusual Contrast for the 'Semibrilliant' Era

    1903 $5 PR67 Cameo NGC. CAC. Any proof gold coinage from the classic era of U.S. numismatics is rare to a greater or lesser degree, depending on numerous factors including overall survival and conditional rarity. The certified populations are of little use in determining actual survival, as they tend to be heavily inflated with resubmissions, a reflection of the great incentives that proof gold coinage of the 19th and early 20th centuries can achieve for a one-point grade bump.
    Cameo or Deep/Ultra Cameo proof gold made after 1902 is doubly rare, since that was the year that the Mint changed its method of manufacturing proofs, whether copper, silver, or gold, to a finish that Breen called "semibrilliant" in his Proof Encyclopedia, as opposed to the former format of frosty devices contrasting against reflective, mirrored fields.
    The present Superb Gem Cameo is thus doubly rare, and conditionally more so, by its status as a proof Liberty Head gold coin with the Cameo designation, as well as by ranking as one of four at the grade level at NGC, with a single PR68 Cameo finer (11/11).
    Garrett and Guth note of the 1903 Liberty Head fives:

    "In comparison to many of the other, very rare, Proof half eagles, the 1903 issue is one of the most common. As a type, however, any Proof Liberty Head half eagle should be considered very rare and desirable. The 1903 issue is mostly seen with brilliant surfaces, and it lacks the deep cameo devices seen on the earlier issues. Although the total number of certified examples is very high for the mintage, these include a great number of resubmissions."

    This Superb Gem proof boasts bright yellow gold color overall, with contrast that is more pronounced on the reverse than on the obverse. The fields are deeply mirrored, and there are no noticeable marks. This piece is apt to attract a good deal of attention as one of the few Cameo proofs available from late in the Liberty Head series.(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 28D9, PCGS# 88498)

    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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    Auction Dates
    January, 2012
    4th-8th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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