1845 $10 Cameo PF-65 NGC
Christian Gobrecht, designer and engraver
Obverse: Head of Liberty facing left, her hair in an elaborate chignon, wearing a coronet on which LIBERTY is emblazoned; around, thirteen stars; below, 1845.
Reverse: Displayed eagle, head facing left, with shield emblazoned on its chest holding olive branch and three arrows in its talons; around, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; below, TEN D.
Condition: NGC Proof 65 Cameo (Certificate number: 1963267-003 Photo Proof 10-07; previous Photo Proof 07-05 [number 1727697-003] ).
Exceptionally deep orange-gold; a superbly struck example with only a few faint hairlines on the chin of Liberty and a couple of minor mint-made lint marks (one above the head of Liberty, another above the E in TEN) noticeable to aid in pedigree determination. A magnificent coin.
References: This Coin Published: Breen (Encyclopedia) 6866, 2; Breen (Proofs) p. 81, 2-3; Garrett & Guth (Encyclopedia) p. 397; Akers (1980) p. 39; this piece used to illustrate the NGC Coin Explorer website. (PCGS 88781)
Condition Census: The finest known. The only example certified by NGC. PCGS lists four examples (none finer than Proof 64), but since only three are known in private hands (the fourth is in the Smithsonian) the PCGS census obviously represents multiple re-submissions. Regarding the presently offered coin, Akers, who had handled the other two other known specimens in private hands, unequivocally stated in his catalogue of the John J. Pittman Collection (Part Two, 1998, lot 1711) that: "this piece is decidedly superior to either of those two examples." He called it "even slightly finer" than Pittman's 1848 Proof Eagle which appeared in the same sale and brought a stunning price ($176,000). (07-13)
Rarity: Of the greatest rarity. Walter Breen (Proofs) cited three examples, but, as above, counted the Col. Green and Pittman examples as two separate coins when they are the same; in his Encyclopedia (1987) he corrected this error, but added the Garrett Collection example and the example from the set discovered in England circa 1979. Akers (1980) reckoned on a survival rate of five to six specimens although in 1998, in his catalogue of the Pittman collection, he was still only able to account for four examples. Akers could cite only two auction appearances between 1948 and 1979 and since then the only auction records for an 1845 Eagle are the Garrett specimen (twice, first in 1980 and then in 1999) and the Pittman example (this coin) in 1998 as part of a proof set. Garrett and Guth estimate a mintage of four.
Provenance: John Jay Pittman, Part Two, David Akers Numismatics, Inc., May 20-21, 1998, lot 1711 (part of a complete 10 piece set) ($756,250); "A Memorable Collection" [Jacob Shapiro/J.F. Bell], Numismatic Galleries [Abe Kosoff and Abner Kreisberg], March 1-2, 1948, lot 548 ($210); Colonel Edward Howland Robinson Green, Stack's (via private placement), circa December 31, 1943/January 10, 1944; possibly ex Burdette G. Johnson (circa 1931), Waldo G. Newcomer (circa 1911), William H. Woodin, Lorin G. Parmelee.
Note: John Jay Pittman purchased his three 1845 gold proofs from the sale of the "Memorable Collection" as separate lots. The collector who assembled the presently-offered Tacasyl collection managed to locate a finer half eagle than the Memorable-Pittman coin, and therefore the three lots in the present sale (1003, 1013, 1017) comprise the finest 1845 gold proof set obtainable.
Like the half eagle, proof issues of the No Motto, coronet type struck from the inception of the design (for eagles it is 1839) until the beginning of production of proofs for public sale in 1858 are of the utmost rarity. Garrett & Guth have estimated not more than thirty examples exist for all dates, which, for a nearly twenty year period is notable, especially as the number of examples in private hands is only about twenty (the Smithsonian has nine proof eagles from this period, and an additional two are in the collection of the American Numismatic Society). Of those in private hands of all dates, and graded by either PCGS or NGC, only one coin is of equivalent quality to this piece, and one exceeds it by a point. As noted for the half eagle these proof sets could have been produced to commemorate the entry of either Florida or Texas to the Union, or President Polk's inauguration.