Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 39

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Lot 2325

1870 $5 Liberty NGC PF66 CAM. NGC graded Proof 66 Cameo. Housed in NGC holder 1551341-004. Brilliant untoned golden surfaces. A very rare date in the long Liberty Coronet half eagle series that spans the years 1839 to 1907. The 1870 issue had for decades certainly been overlooked by specialized collectors (although a few wise "name" collectors from the last century saw its potential). Today, the 1870 Proof is widely recognized for what it is, an opportunity that should not be ignored! Only 35 proofs were originally sold to collectors, and while Akers and others fail to give indication for the numbers of survivors, Breen estimates that perhaps a dozen survive today. We believe there may be even fewer than a dozen, and we quote Akers concluding comment about this date, "…very rare and for some unknown reason [1870 proofs] have appeared at auction less often than similar or lower mintage proofs of many other dates." When one turns to the certification services, their data further reinforces this belief as most have been certified no higher than Proof 63 or Proof 64 by PCGS or NGC.

Included in the short roster are: (1) Scanlon:2334 (Stacks 10/73), described as "flawless," and bringing $4,400. Later this piece appeared in Bowers' 11/2000 Bass IV:504 where it was graded PCGS Proof 64 (2) Garrett 3/76:430, realized $5,000, possibly reappearing in Bowers 9/95:1418, again as PCGS Proof 64 (3) Carter:683, $13,200 (4) Clapp, Eliasberg, Trompeter (5) Heritage 8/95:7818, PCGS Proof 63 with several lint marks in lower left of reverse, $17,600. The Trompeter coin, not auctioned at the time (only the gold dollars through $4 gold pieces were sold in 1992) later was placed by private treaty. This gorgeous Gem Proof 66 Cameo specimen may be a candidate for "Finest Known". Pop 1; none finer In fact NGC reports the second finest graded as Pf-64 (PCGS # 88465) .

On the 1870 Proofs, the date logotype is firmly if somewhat lightly impressed, bottom of 0 in date thin. The date is set relatively high, with the bottom of 1 nearly three times the distance from the dentils as top is from truncation; the left edge of the lower serif over the space between dentils. The uppermost point of the seventh star, that directly above Libertys head at 12:00, exhibits a tiny scalloped notch on its left side.

In the half eagle series, Proofs were made in very small quantities and not for every year prior to 1858. Those dated 1859 to the 1880s are exceedingly rare today, so rare as to be generally unavailable, except when great collections are sold. The typical surviving population of a given date is apt to be 10 to 20 pieces. In recent years, Proofs of the 1870s era have been considered as "trophy coins" by many collectors and investors, with the result that they are taken off the market and rarely again see the light of day.
Estimated Value $100,000 - 120,000.

Realized $109,250

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