The Matte Proof 1911 $5 is a very rare and desirable coin with a most unusual finish. According to Akers, the finish on the 1911 $5 is different than any other in the series. The difference resulted from the various experiments the Mint conducted in the early 20th century with finishes on Proof coins. The Mint produced the Matte Finish by sand-blasting the surfaces of the coins after they were struck. The texture of the finish varied depending on the size of the grit used to sand-blast the coin. Customers, who were used to the brilliant and cameo finishes of earlier years, either bought the Matte Proof coins begrudgingly or shied away from them completely. As a result, mintages were small and, even then, not all of the coins produced were sold.
Fortunately, the collectors who had the foresight to purchase these unusual coins also took good care of them. Thus, the quality of the surviving population is excellent. The PCGS Condition Census consists entirely of PR66 and better examples, and it tops out at PR68.
So many of these coins have been stripped in recent years that few examples retain their original orange- and olive-gold colors. One of the unique characteristics of Matte Proof gold of the early 20th century is the diversity of color from year to year.