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Exceptionally Choice Proof 1864 Double Eagle

1864 $20 PR64 PCGS. A spectacular coin for the numismatist who appreciates the most regal form of coinage. Not only is this gold, but a very attractive Choice proof specimen. The strike is very sharp, with no signs of weakness on the curls of Liberty or on the eagle. There is a tiny area of die stress along the upper reverse between the dentils and the middle of the letters in that area, which can only be seen at certain angles. All central and peripheral devices show bold frost, and this coin will likely qualify as a Cameo or higher if resubmitted, as the current PCGS holder predates those qualifiers for proof coinage. This particular coin is identifiable by a tiny planchet pit located between stars eleven and twelve with a short lint mark nearby closer to Liberty's hair bun. The reverse is very clean and identifying anything unique is quite a challenge, we do note an infinitesimal tick above the left side of the second S of STATES and a very minor grease mark in the dentils above that same letter. This is certainly a very high end coin for the grade, with minimal signs of the ever-present wispy lines in the fields, and the frost on the central devices is undisturbed by handling or nicks. Despite a rather generous mintage of 50 pieces in 1864, very few are known today. Perhaps some were melted as unsold at the Philadelphia Mint, or others were lost as the nation continued the horrific battles of the War of 1861 to 1865 and the economic upheavals that continued for years afterward. There certainly aren't 50 pieces out there today. In fact, the combined NGC and PCGS population reports show (including the Cameo and Deep/Ultra Cameo designations) that two pieces have been graded as PR63, and this particular coin is tied with a small cluster of eleven pieces as PR64. There are none finer graded by either service in any category. At most 13 pieces have been graded, and we suspect a few more are not certified in old time collections, but certainly not many more at this time. A reasonable guess would be that 15 to 20 exist of this very rare issue, and this particular coin is certainly very attractive. This coin would make an excellent companion to the 1864 Proof Eagle that is also in this session.
As the Civil War dragged into another year both sides were exhausted and weary of the long conflict. Many tragic battles remained to be fought, and the casualties decimated the ranks. Sickness also played a major part in the war, and a great many people were lost because of fevers or illness. Of course the primitive conditions such as mud and snow were major obstacles to troop movements and boots and blankets were in short supply too often. While this tragedy unfolded, this 1864 double eagle was struck, sold to collector who preserved it, and passed it down through time virtually untouched from that day to this, spanning 140 years.
From The Gold Rush Collection.(#9076) (Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 26DF, PCGS# 9076)

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Service and Handling Description: Coin/Currency (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
January, 2005
12th-15th Wednesday-Saturday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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