1910 $2.5 PF-67★ NGC
Bela Lyon Pratt, designer
Obverse: In sunk relief: Head of Indian left, wearing a feathered war bonnet; thirteen stars; broken above by LIBERTY, and below by the date (1910); below truncation of bust, designer's initials, B.L.P.
Reverse: In sunk relief: Eagle standing left on a bundle of arrows entwined with a laurel branch; above, UNITEDSTATESOFAMERICA; below, 2½ DOLLARS; to left, E / PLURIBUS / UNUM, in three lines; to right, IN / GOD / WE / TRUST, in four lines.
Condition: NGC Proof 67★ (Certificate number: 1963253-004 Photo Proof 10-07).
A wonderful example. Rich coppery-gold with bright satiny surfaces; an infinitesimal mint-caused 'dimple' below the R of LIBERTY. Unusually well preserved.
References: This Coin Published: Garrett & Guth (Encyclopedia) p. 137; Loewinger, R.J., Proof Gold Coinage of the United States, p. 41 (to illustrate the Roman [Satin] finish quarter eagle). Other references: Breen (Encyclopedia) 6332; Breen (Proofs) p. 213; Akers (1975) p. 212-213; United States Mint, Operating Records, "Medal Book," 1906-1916, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Philadelphia.(PCGS 7959)
Condition Census: One of the finest known. Although NGC has graded fourteen examples as Proof 67, only three (including the present lot) bear the star designation for exceptional eye appeal; only one coin has been graded higher by NGC, and PCGS has listed a single Proof-67 as their finest. (07-13)
Rarity: Very rare. Akers, Breen, and Garrett and Guth all comment that the traditionally reported mintage of 682 is an error, or that most were unsold and simply melted. The number of unsold pieces remains unknown, as does the quantity of those melted. The 682 mintage is an error. The Medal Book in the National Archives (Philadelphia) records a total of 700 struck on 5 different days with only 9 rejected by quality control: thus the proper mintage should be recorded as 691. Despite these seemingly large mintage figures the number of examples appearing on the market is not out-of-line with the other dates in the matte proof series. And certainly at this lofty level of preservation its rarity is a given (according to the PCGS auction records only a single comparably graded example has appeared at auction since 2007).
Provenance: Dr. Robert Loewinger Collection, Heritage, January 4, 2007, lot 3114 ("Ex Lisa L." Collection) PR 67 NGC, "We see no flaws on either side of this magnificent coin, and in fact, see no impediments to an even higher grading designation." ($38,812.50)
Note: The concept of the sunk-relief coins of Bela Lyon Pratt was the brainchild of one of President Theodore Roosevelt's closest friends from Boston, Dr. William Sturgis Bigelow. Having planted the idea with the president, Bigelow shepherded the project and acted as Pratt's go-between. The result, a forcefully realistic rendering of an American Indian, was a far cry from the idealized images of Liberty that had appeared on United States coinage from its inception (and which were continued by Augustus Saint-Gaudens) and may be seen as the first uniquely American coin design.