Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

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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