Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 37

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Lot 2053

1891 $5 Liberty. NGC graded Proof 64 Ultra Cameo Triple Struck with Reverse Rotation. A unique mint error in gold and in proof condition. NGC #1876204-001. This is an incredibly important Proof half eagle that was triple struck with rotation between strikes on the reverse. The obverse does not show any indication of the extra impressions from the die. The first and second imprint of the design on the reverse are visible in a counterclockwise arrangement relative to the third impression. In addition to the magnitude of this example from the extra strikes, it is also a Proof Gold rarity, one of just 53 examples coined in Proof format. Further, the 1891 half eagle is also a low mintage issue as a business strike, creating a situation where the overall rarity is an key factor when considering the collector pressure on this issue.

Different sources suggest varying survival rates for this issue. In his Complete Encyclopedia, Walter Breen posited that around 25 to 30 different Proofs of this issue may exist in collectors' hands, representing about 60% of the recorded mintage. Including resubmissions, NGC and PCGS have combined to certify 45 examples. Perhaps this figure does coincide with the Breen survival estimate. We have handled only a few 1891 Proofs of the half eagle, a check of our archives indicates that this it has been well over a decade since we last offered a Proof example of this date; several more instances pop up in the late 1980s to early 1990s, but in all of our sales this has consistently been a "sleeper" Proof. A complete and accurate roster of known examples has not been attempted, to the best of our knowledge, and would be difficult to accomplish. So many of the gold Proofs are similar in appearance that plate matching over many years of auction offerings is rendered quite difficult. Of course, the condition of this example with its remarkable tripled reverse is unmistakable. We suspect that this particular example, with its extra design impressions, is unique.

The surfaces have light yellow-gold color with mirrored fields and highly lustrous devices. A few light contact marks are visible on each side. There is a small black spot just above Liberty's eyebrow and a couple others on the obverse rim. These minor blemishes limit the grade and keep it from Gem quality. The devices are highly lustrous with frosty light yellow color. A few small lint marks attest to the Proof status of this coin. One of these is located just below star 4. The most noticeable evidence of triple striking on the reverse is in the fields around the eagle, especially in the open areas above the eagle and below the motto. Certain of the letters in the motto and denomination are also tripled with this evidence weak but visible. The fields themselves have the wavy or watery appearance so often seen on Proof gold coins. This is truly an amazing ultra cameo Proof with exceptional eye appeal and a high degree of desirability.
Estimated Value $30,000 - 35,000.

Realized $31,200

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