Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 75

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Lot 2162

1879. PCGS graded Proof 64. A well struck glittering choice proof, delicately toned. Only 30 proofs struck. While the listed mintage of 30 pieces seems reasonable for the period, this date is actually rarer than the lower mintage 1877 and 1878! There may be as few as eight Proof 1879 eagles in existence today, nearly all Choice or Gem Proof quality, curiously, although a polished low-end specimen appeared at auction in the past (1992). It is also possible, though we doubt it, that the population could increase to a few more coins.

An interesting aspect of this issue is how die lapping has caused what the Heritage auction firm calls the "floating curl", an apt phrase in which the curl dangling behind Libertys neck becomes detached at the top. A bold, gleaming, and unmistakable Proof. The 1879 Eagle issue is not as highly mirror-deep as some of the smaller denominations, yet the devices retain delicate mint frost and feature warm yellow-gold devices. A few faint hairlines are visible on each side, a tiny toning area on Libertys neck may be used as a provenance indicator. Contrary the smaller denomination gold Proofs of this year, Eagles (as well as Double Eagles) seem to lack the usual deep cameo contrast, and may not exist for this denomination. Pop 2; 1 finer in 65. (PCGS # 8819)
Typical events of the fast-growing United States in the year 1879 include: The first telephone line connecting two American cities being strung, and thereafter Boston and Lowell, Mass., were in communication; on a humorous note, a reporter cornered William H. Vanderbilt, head of the New York Central Railroad, demanding an interview and stating that the public was waiting for one. Vanderbilt brushed past him, snapping the immortal words, "The public be damned!"; and last, in his second effort to establish a low-priced shopping center, Frank W. Woolworth finally succeeded with a flourishing 5-and-10-cent store in Lancaster, Pa. Estimated Value $25,000 - 27,000

Realized $35,650

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