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Lot
5279

1865 $20 PR64 Cameo NGC. CAC....

2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction #1151

 
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Auction Ended On: Jan 6, 2011
Item Activity: 6 Internet/mail/phone bidders
2,431 page views
Location: Tampa Convention Center
333 S. Franklin St.
Tampa, FL 33602
Description:

Extremely Rare 1865 Proof 64 Cameo Twenty
Fewer than 10 Specimens Known
1865 $20 PR64 Cameo NGC. CAC. Proof Type One double eagles are extremely challenging and the 1865 had the lowest mintage of all save for the 1858, which was the first year that proof twenties are known to have been struck. At that time proof minor coins were struck in greater quantities for sale in short sets, while production of proof gold coins, which were out of the price range of most collectors, was very limited. Just 25 proof examples of each gold denomination--dollar through double eagle--were struck in 1865. All early gold proofs are treasured by collectors, but the 1865 twenty is a particularly special coin. With only six examples believed in private hands, the 1865 double eagle is a coin that few people will ever have the chance to own.
It was not until the late 1850s that coin collecting started to become popular in the United States. The half cent and large cent series were discontinued in 1857, and the nostalgic populace pulled many of these older coins from circulation. The collecting craze was so significant that Mint Director James Ross Snowden began advertising proof sets for sale to the general public the following year. In 1865 the Mint produced 500 minor coin (cent through dollar) proof sets. A complete set, which also included the gold dollar, quarter eagle, three dollar, half eagle, eagle and double eagle, had a face value of $43.49, an amount few people could afford. It is no surprise that just 25 proof gold sets were made that year.
Fewer than 10 proof 1865 double eagles are believed to have survived. Collectors covet these early gold proofs and examples trade so rarely that it is difficult to create an accurate census with complete pedigrees. Breen (1977) was able to trace only six examples, two of which are housed in institutional collections (the Smithsonian and American Numismatic Society) and he later (1977, appendix; 1988) estimates the number of extant specimens at six to eight. NGC reports six examples, all with the Cameo designation (3 in PR64, 2 in PR65, and 1 in PR66) and PCGS lists five (3 in PR64, 1 in PR65, and 1 in PR65 Deep Cameo). These figures are undoubtedly inflated by multiple resubmissions (11/10).
Proof 1865 double eagles have been sold at auction only five times in the past four decades and this is the first time an example has been sold by Heritage. The last appearance of a proof 1865 twenty at auction was more than six years ago. It is likely that when this piece is sold, many years will pass before another example is offered. With two specimens permanently impounded in museums, there are probably only a half dozen representatives available to collectors. This is an opportunity that should not to be missed.
This magnificent specimen boasts deeply reflective mirrors that show sharp contrast against the frosted devices. NGC has called this piece Cameo and it appears to be just a sliver away from Ultra Cameo designation. The surfaces have mostly bright yellow-gold patination with a slight reddish hue. The fields exhibit a subtle orange-peel texture, a characteristic common to gold coins of this period. Close inspection under a loupe reveals faint hairlines, which is not surprising for an early proof gold issue. Both sides are free from any obvious contact marks. A truly stunning Near-Gem proof.
From The Henry Miller Collection.(Registry values: P7) (PCGS# 89077)

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