1868 $20 PR66 Cameo NGC....
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|Auction Ended On:||Apr 17, 2008|
5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
3,961 page views
In 1866 the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was introduced on double eagles, forming a separate With Motto type within the series, also commonly called Type Two double eagles. The Type One (No Motto) double eagles were, of course, produced from 1849 to 1866, while the Type Two pieces were produced from 1866 to 1876. In 1877 the denomination was changed to TWENTY DOLLARS from the former TWENTY D., creating the Type Three segment of the series. Beside the added motto, Type Two double eagles vary in having a shield that is curved on the sides, as opposed to the straight-sided shield on Type One pieces. In 1866 the motto was hand-punched into the P- and S-mint dies with the new curved shield, creating minor die varieties, but the motto was afterward incorporated into the master dies. The 11-year span of the Type Two double eagles coincides with the Reconstruction era in the South, and ends in the nation's Centennial year of 1876. Double eagles minted in Philadelphia did not circulate domestically to any great extent during the Type Two era; most were exported and melted, although some did make their way west. While the Philadelphia Mint made proofs of the Coronet, With Motto double eagle yearly for public sale, there were few avid collectors during the post-Civil War era, and even fewer who could afford to tie up 20 dollars in a "collectible" coin. As a result, annual sales of proof double eagles never exceeded 50 pieces in a given year. For 1868, just 25 proof coins were struck, about 10 to 12 of which are believed to exist today--and three of those examples are in the museum collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the American Numismatic Society. The Bowers double eagle reference calls proofs of this date "very rare," noting that business strikes are even rarer. The recently published Garrett-Guth Gold Encyclopedia says, "All Proof Type 2 double eagles are rare and desirable, and the 1868 date ranks as one of the most sought-after issues." Currently NGC and PCGS combined have recorded 15 "submission events," which undoubtedly include resubmissions and crossovers (9/06).
The present coin stands alone atop the Condition Census as the single finest known example, in PR66 Cameo condition. The fields are deeply mirrored, and the thick mint frost over the devices gives the coin a strong two-toned effect, with the black-on-gold contrast that is so pleasing and desirable on cameo proof gold coinage. The strike is robustly executed, as expected, with a couple of the peripheral stars showing extra outlines. The date logotype is entered a trifle high into the die, so that the 1 is about twice as close to the bust truncation as to the denticles. The first 8 is close to the 1. This is a coin of the utmost rarity and importance, whether to type collectors, date collectors, or to connoisseurs of proof gold, that crème de la crème of U.S. numismatics.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 26DL, PCGS# 89083)
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