Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 78

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Lot 1798

1887. PCGS graded Proof 63 Cameo. A boldly struck example of this classic Proof-only rarity. The mirror fields with the orange-peel appearance give excellent contrast to the frosted devices; all delicately toned. A mere 87 coins were struck for the year.

Date high, slants up to right; left base of 1 above about center of dentil, base of 7 further above border, top of 7 close to truncation. Reverse: Possibly the repolished die of 1886, according to Breen. Little die polish in white stripes; enough die polish at leg feathers near leaf to make inner feather thin and free of leaf; without the irregular extra outlines at F A.

The 1887 has the honor of being the only Proof-only issue in the entire U.S. Half Eagle series of 1795-1929. Perhaps the 1887, with its unique status among Half Eagles and its associated popularity with numismatists, appears at auction more frequently than other Proofs in the Liberty series and, thus, led some authorities to think it is more common than it actually is in various auction surveys. That said, the 1887 Half Eagle will forever enjoy a place of distinction in the pantheon of classic U.S. gold rarities.

Both sides are veiled in khaki-gold color that presents a hazy appearance at many angles. Direct light, however, reveals reflective qualities in the fields that are also evident at all angles in several areas around the obverse portrait. The devices are 100% sharp in strike, so there is no need to mention any softness here or there as we are sometimes obliged to do on certain other Proof dates in the series. Free of outwardly noticeable handling marks, too, this pleasing, dare we say handsome, and important Proof 63 is sure to spark strong bidder competition when it appears at auction. Pop 1; 5 finer, 4 in 64, 1 in 65 (PCGS # 88482) .

Note: Two gold denominations, were Proof-only at Philadelphia in 1887, the Half Eagle and Double Eagle. Of all others, only the Eagle was minted in more than token amounts as a business strike. The date has become famous with Proof gold. Among With Motto Liberty Proof $5 gold pieces, it stands as the second most costly date in all grades, behind only the still-more-renowned 1875 (with 20 Proofs minted).
Estimated Value $30,000 - 35,000.
Ex: Stack's May 23-24 1974 Sale Lot 460; Ex: Rarcoa's Harley L Freeman May 13-15 1977 Sale Lot 413; Ex: Abner Kreisberg late 1970's The Del Valle Collection.

Realized $47,000

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