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    1887 Half Eagle, PR65 Ultra Cameo
    Famous Proof-Only Key Date
    Single Finest at NGC

    1887 $5 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. JD-1, R.5. Ex: Simpson. The year 1887 is a memorable one as far as gold coinage production is concerned. While circulation strikes were made for the gold dollar, quarter eagle, three dollar, and ten dollar, the same cannot be said of the half eagle or double eagle. The latter were limited to proof production only, of which 87 pieces of each were struck -- a memorable total that happens to correspond to the last two digits in the date itself, whether intentionally or by fluke.

    It will surprise no one that the 1887 proof half eagle is a monumental key date -- the sole proof-only issue in the series. Of the 87 coins minted, only 35 to 45 examples are believed to survive. The issue is characterized by two phenomena not common to most late-19th century proofs: a preponderance of circulated examples and a dearth of Ultra or Deep Cameo representatives. John Dannreuther writes:

    "One mystery for this date is the lack of deep cameo examples. As one can see by studying the auction records, the grading services have seldom awarded the deep cameo designation. One would think that the early examples would have enough contrast to warrant the DCAM suffix. Some year's [sic] Proofs just never got the heavy frosting for their dies. The NNC coin [PR64 Deep Cameo] was acquired on January 27th and does rate the ultimate designation, of course."

    This PR65 Ultra Cameo rarity from the Bob R. Simpson Collection ranks as the single finest example at NGC. It is followed by one PR63 Ultra Cameo submission at that service. PCGS lists four PR65 Deep Cameo coins, including one with a Plus designation, and no others in that contrast category. The PCGS total may be inflated by one or two pieces (11/20).

    Both sides feature impressive jet-black fields and richly frosted orange-gold devices, generating the stark Ultra Cameo appearance so seldom found among 1887 proof half eagles. The fields are finely textured with minimal contact. Eye appeal is terrific for this famous proof-only key.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28CR, PCGS# 98482)

    Weight: 8.36 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    Auction Info

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    18th Friday
    Auction Dates
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    21 Days
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