1862 Half Eagle NGC PR-65CAM * (Ex Twin Maples Collection) - A grand total of 4,430 half eagles were struck for circulation in 1862, creating a major rarity. To this total, 35 proofs can be added, which were specifically struck for collectors during the 2nd year of the civil war.
While circulation strikes are once in a while available, the proof strikings are a major rarity in American coinage. Of the 35 specimens, which were all struck on February 16 of the year, less than a dozen specimens remain to exist, including those forever impounded in institutional collections.
Proof gold coinage, in any grade, is a true highlight of a major collection of US coins. Only a few people have specialized in collecting these special strikings, with the late Ed Trompeter being the only one whose collection came very close to completion. With some issues, such as this one having less than 50 coins struck, this is a major accomplishment.
The civil war had a big influence on the coinage, and use of money in the United States. After 1861, mintages collapsed as silver and gold, and later copper coinage as well were widely hoarded and stopped circulating. This was a direct result of several reasons, including the suspension of specie payments and the need of paying foreign contractors using the few coins that were still in circulation. As a result, only tokens of mainly the cent piece, and paper money circulated throughout both the United States and the Confederate States.
The present coin is one, if not the, finest survivor of the limited proof coinage. Graded Cameo by NGC, the frosty surfaces look very close to Ultra Cameo, which would confirm that this is the finest known example. The population reports are virtually useless, as that indicates that a total of 20 proof 1862 half eagles should be known in all grades. Adding the coins that are in museums, this would make that most of the proof coinage survives in all grades. A highly unlikely, and definite incorrect scenario.
Mark-free surfaces, as can be expected for the grade highlight lustrous surfaces. Given the star designation by NGC for exceptional eye-appeal, we can absolutely not disagree with this. The present opportunity offers a glamorous coin which is the perfect investor coin, or destined to be in the finest set of American proof coinage.
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