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1891 $5 Triple Struck Proof 64 NGC Mint Error Offered in Heritage Long Beach Signature Sale

From the Heritage Auction:

1891 $5 --Triple Struck--PR64 Ultra Cameo NGC. This is an amazing Proof half eagle that was triple struck with rotation between strikes on the reverse. The obverse does not show any evidence of the extra impressions from the die. The first and second impression of the design on the reverse are evident in a counterclockwise position relative to the third impression. In addition to the importance of this example from the extra strikes, it is also a rarity, one of just 53 examples coined in Proof format. Further, the 1891 half eagle is also a lower mintage issue in business strike, meaning that the overall rarity is an important factor when considering the demand of this issue.

Different sources suggest disparaging survival rates for this issue. In his Complete Encyclopedia, Walter Breen suggested that about 25 to 30 different Proofs of this issue survive, representing about 60% of the recorded mintage. Including resubmissions, NGC and PCGS have combined to certify 45 examples. Perhaps this population total does fall in line with the Breen survival estimate. At Heritage, a check of our Auction Archives indicates that this is only the second time that we have offered a proof example of this date in all of our sales over the last dozen years. 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 description of this example with its tripled reverse would be unmistakable. We suspect that this particular example, with its extra design impressions, is most likely unique.

The surfaces have light yellow-gold color with mirrored fields and highly lustrous devices. A few light abrasions 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.

“This is an impressive piece,” said HNAI senior cataloger Mark Borckardt. “This amazing proof half eagle was triple struck with rotation between strikes on the reverse. The obverse, however, does not show any evidence of the extra impressions from the die. The first and second impression of the design on the reverse are evident in a counterclockwise position relative to the third impression.”

Greg Rohan, HNAI president, added, “In addition to the importance of this example from the extra strikes, it is also a rarity. It’s one of just 53 examples in proof format. Further, the 1891 half eagle is also a lower mintage issue in business strike, meaning that the overall rarity is an important factor when considering the demand of this issue.”

He said that census records from both the Professional Coin Grading Service and the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. indicate that only 45 examples of the coin are known to exist.

“Indeed, Heritage has only offered two proof examples of this date in the last dozen years. We suspect that this particular example, with its extra design impressions, is most likely unique, and look forward to spirited bidding on this rare item.”







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