1904 $5 PR67 Cameo NGC. This is the finest 1904 proof
Liberty half eagle that we have seen in a long time.
The field to device contrast is immediately obvious
with only a casual glance. The surfaces are only a
few planchet flakes short of pristine. Design motifs
on both sides are exceptional in their detail.
The best certified examples include one PR68 Cameo
NGC; four PR67 Cameo NGC coins (including this piece);
nine PR66 Cameo NGC coins; and one PR66 Cameo PCGS
example. The average grade of all 1904 proof half
eagles certified by NGC and PCGS is just 62.6. Neither
service has ever certified a Deep or Ultra Cameo proof,
and the ratio of Cameo to non-Cameo proofs is 68 to
53, or about 56% Cameo specimens. The current certified
population of 121 NGC and PCGS coins is just 15 pieces
shy of the original mintage of 136 proofs, yet we
believe that only about 50 to 60 different pieces
actually survive today.
Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth concur with our survival
estimate, suggesting a total population of 50 to 75
coins. The write: "Most of the coins seen are
deeply mirrored, and they lack the frosted devices
seen on most of the examples struck before 1902. Although
a few superb coins are known, most of the coins grade
PF-64 at best. High-grade Proof half eagles are very
rare, regardless of the date. The John Jay Pittman
example is one of the finest offered in recent years."
We feel that the present coin exceeds even the Pittman
specimen. Although a single finer example is NGC certified,
we think that the offering of this coin represents
the second or third finest example in existence.
Census: 4 in 67 Cameo, 1 finer (4/08).