The final quarter of the 19th century was designated by author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, as the Gilded Age. A frenzy of rapid industrialization and increased wages created an environment of relative affluence and luxury that America had not yet experienced in its scant 100 years of existence. Marked by a proliferation of technology, railroads, labor unions and immigration, the expanding economy spurred a need for circulating currency to fuel the growth.
This need resulted in elevated mintage figures for virtually every U.S. coin issue beginning in the 1870s and seemingly only abating with the Great Depression some six decades later. Among coins of this era, the 1895-S half eagle remains an underrated issue with collectors today.
A moderate mintage of 112,000 pieces ensured that the 1895-S half eagle would never be a supreme rarity; however, this issue becomes exponentially more exclusive in Mint State. These pieces saw immediate and extensive circulation, with the result that most pieces are found today in Extremely Fine and About Uncirculated grades.
The MS-64 example we will offer in our February 10, 2016, Rarities Auction shares this grade with just a single other piece at PCGS, with just two pieces certified finer at MS-66. In addition, this gorgeous near-Gem displays delicate amber gold patina across both sides, accented with faint russet notions in some areas. The overall satiny complexion is enhanced by serene fields and sharply pronounced devices. It is a thoroughly appealing example of this San Francisco condition rarity.
This lovely jewel will be offered alongside a number of other rarities in our February 2016 Rarities Auction, held in conjunction with our third offering of the legendary D. Brent Pogue Collection. To consign your treasures to this sale, or any other of our auctions, please contact our offices today at 1-800-458-4646 to speak with a Consignment Director and see what Stack’s Bowers can do for you.