Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction

The Ohringer Collection PT II - Continental Currency - $5 Gold
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Lot 1263
1885 $5 Liberty. NGC graded Proof 64 Ultra Cameo. In NGC holder 1500894-010. A gorgeous untoned brilliant proof example with outstanding cameo contrast. Only 66 proofs minted. Bright golden color graces the surface of the obverse and reverse, accenting the "ultra" frosted lettering and devices. This coin retains infinite eye appeal and virtual-gem surfaces in every way. For identification purposes, there is a short tone streak or drift mark on the left side of the reverse running on the diagonal (Other specimens reported of the 1885 issue have similar drift marks.)

According to a researcher at Stack's "the Philadelphia Mint achieved the fashionable orange-peel fields through a secret process. This is quite remarkable to study, the fields appear perfectly reflective to the unaided eye, but when a magnifier is used, the fields break up into tiny interlocking facets which have an appearance similar to sun dried mud which has cracked into millions of fragments. This coining technique was perfected on Proof gold coinage of the period, and probably involved a combination of striking pressure and highly polished dies (on the fields), while the devices and lettering were frosted using a short acid bath to create the textured or frosty appearance. The combination of the frosted devices and mirror fields produces the Cameo effect, which is quite strong on the first few coins struck from the dies…" It is definitely "ultra" as seen on the present coin! A marvel of coin manufacture. Pop 2; 3 in 66 UC, 2 in 67 UC.
Estimated Value $20,000 - 24,000.
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Lot 1264
1901 $5 Liberty. PCGS graded Proof 66 Deep Cameo. In PCGS holder 50146508. A stunning gem exhibiting lovely rich golden sunset toning on both sides. To put it briefly, this is a stunning, absolutely wonderful Proof specimen that was produced in very limited numbers. The coin has survived intact and as it was struck during the early months of the 20th century. Merely a faint overlay of orange patina has gathered on the obverse since that time, only a slight change and the only one that would differentiate from the remarkable quality and appearance as it came off the dies some 107 years ago. The surfaces are richly frosted over each side and, with the almost infinite depth of mirror reflectivity in the fields, the coin achieves a very attractive two-toned look. This superlative Proof half eagle represents quality that could hardly be imagined and is truly a coin worthy of runaway potential. Only 140 Proofs struck. Pop 1; none finer at PCGS. Only 3 Proof Deep Cameo examples graded by PCGS (PCGS # 98496) .
Estimated Value $35,000 - 40,000.
Previously in a Heritage sale, January 2005.

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Lot 1265
1907 $5 Liberty. NGC graded Proof 66 Cameo. In NGC holder 1741200-016. A glorious Gem Proof, well struck and untoned. How else to explain this very bright and radiant coin whose devices are surrounded by imposing deeply mirrored fields! Close examination under a glass shows nothing even remotely noticeable in the way of marks or spotting. Almost on a par with the few known Proof 67s, in fact. The last year of half eagle production in Proof with the venerable Liberty head design (business strikes continued part way into 1908). The Proofs can be identified by a bold diagonal die line (as made) west of the initial vertical stripe of the shield. Only 92 proofs minted. Pop 7; 4 in 67 Cameo (PCGS # 88502) .
Estimated Value $30,000 - 35,000.
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Lot 1266
1909-O $5 Indian. NGC graded MS-65. Housed in NGC holder 1998186-001. A well struck frosty mint gem with a clear round mint mark. The lustrous surfaces are a natural light reddish-orange in color. The key date Indian half eagle and the most eleusive example in high grade of them all.

The 1909-O Indian half eagle is in the same predicament as the "only time of issue" 1854 Dahlonega Mint three-dollar gold piece insofar as it is the only delivery from its respective branch mint in its series. Why should this be so? Only the ghost of the New Orleans Mint Director could say. And he isn't telling. The archives, too, are mute, other than in their droll fact-sheet that thus-and-so-many specimens were made that year. Combined with an especially low mintage, this causes the '09-O to be the key-date Indian half eagle. By several orders of magnitude, we might add, the rarest issue in the series in Gem condition. Survivors from an original 34,200 pieces are rarities at all levels of preservation but especially Mint State grades. Circulated to low Mint State pieces are offered for sale on occasion. Writing in 1988 (A Handbook of 20th-Century United States Gold Coins: 1907-1933) David W. Akers believes there are fewer than 10 pieces in existence at or above Mint State 64, all of which (presumably) qualify as Condition Census.

What about the coin's other specifications? Listing them in random order, we find first a strong mintmark which is as full and sharply impressed as we have ever seen on an '09-O Indian $5. Notable as this is, it is just the first item in a procession of fine features. Next up comes the luster, which is of exemplary quality: a sheen of frostiness that has a lovely satiny veneer over the Indian's cheek and brow contours. Also, all elements of the main motifs whether satiny or frosted are clear and sharp in keeping with the clear mintmark. We could stop right here, but we cannot go back now. For as an encore that should attract serious buyers, while the surface appears to be smooth enough to warrant all due respect at the full Gem Mint State 65 grade level, the full flood of beautiful light toning completes the splendid list of qualifications. There is nothing more attractive than this bold 1909-O half eagle. If someone disputes this, we haven't seen or heard of another quite like it. Yes, there is one other MS65 graded by NGC, but that is of no concern. If a single example of this date is desired, the present piece should be considered for its beauty and quality, its rarity and historic situation. Pop 2; none finer (PCGS # 8515) .
Estimated Value $350,000 - 400,000.
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Lot 1267
1911 $5 Indian. NGC graded Proof 68. In NGC holder 2019388-002. Well struck. Only 139 Proofs minted. This example is phenomenal for its sharp strike. Nearly all matte or sandblast Proof gold issues are, of course, but truth be told, few can hold a candle to this incredible specimen. The surfaces have a microscopically grainy appearance with myriad points of tiny bright facets. So perfect is it that the coin is pretty much "as struck," what's more, the surfaces are devoid of any blemishes or handling signs. There are no copper spots. This half eagle is rightly positioned to attract the most mature -- may we say "refined"? -- buyer. We expect considerable activity today because of the strong gold market and also a stronger than usual market in great American gold rarities

The Indian design half eagles, along with quarter eagles, eagles, and double eagles of the same 1908 to 1915 period were all designed at the Mint following suggestions by Bela Lyon Pratt. The Mint in Philadelphia was experimenting with different coin styles at the time and grabbed onto Pratt's "recessed relief" idea of sinking the design below the surface of the coin. Types of finish for Proof coins were also experimental in this period, ranging from satiny bright (the so-called Roman finish of 1909-10) to varying stages of sandblast (1908 and 1911-15) for the various gold denominations, not only the five-dollar pieces. Pop 4; none finer at NGC (PCGS # 8542) .
Estimated Value $60,000 - 70,000.
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