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1870 Type Two Twenty, PR65 Ultra Cameo
1870 $20 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. Like all dates in the
Type Two series of proofs, the 1870 also had an impressively low
mintage. Only 35 pieces were struck, but distribution seems to have
remained low. Breen estimates that 10-20 pieces exist today;
however, when one subtracts the number of institutionally held
examples of this date, the actual number available to private
collectors appears to number only four or five specimens. This is
an unusually low number of survivors for proof gold, indicating
several pieces were most likely dropped into circulation because of
their high face value. The most complete roster we have been able
to assemble accounts for nine examples with a single unattributed
Only 4-5 Pieces Confirmed Specimens in Collectors' Hands
1. Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 924; Ed Trompeter Collection; Orlando Sale (Stack's, 1/2007), lot 1410, which realized $368,000. PR66 PCGS.
2. Probably Ex: David S. Wilson (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), lot 330, which brought $170 as a complete gold set; Atwater Collection (Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1262; Eliasberg; "H.R. Lee"/New Netherlands 49th Sale (10/1947), lot 119; Gaston DiBello Collection (Stack's, 5/1970), lot 1238; Bass II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1801; 2004 ANA Auction (Heritage, 8/2004), lot 7686. PR64 Deep Cameo; 2011 FUN Auction (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5281, which realized $189,000. PR65 Ultra Cameo.
3. Smithsonian. PR64 Deep Cameo.
4. Smithsonian duplicate. PR64 Deep Cameo.
5. Samuel Wolfson (Stack's, 10/1962), lot 896; Spring Sale (Stack's, 4/1978), lot 913; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/1995), lot 372. PR61 PCGS.
6. ANS; ex: Brock. Proof.
7. Heman Ely to W. Elliot Woodward, 1883; Garrett Collection (Stack's, 3/1976), lot 434, part of an original 1870 gold proof set. Brilliant Proof.
A. Waldo Newcomer; F.C.C. Boyd; WGC (Numismatic Gallery,1/1946), lot 873; "Memorable"/J.F. Bell (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 693; Menjou (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 1808. Brilliant proof. There is no known illustration of this specimen.
One curious attribute common to all proof 1870 twenties is mentioned in the 2007 FUN Sale by Stack's. A complex lintmark is seen through the letters IBE on Liberty's coronet; apparently this was impressed into the master hub.
The rarity and importance of Type Two twenties as proofs are difficult to overstate. When one compares Type Two to Type Three proofs, there are approximately eight times as many Type Three proof twenties available. Of course, there are many more dates available in the Type Three series, but the mintages of Type Twos are uniformly low, ranging from a low of 25 proofs to a high of 50.
This glittering, deeply mirrored proof displays heavy mint frost over the devices, giving the coin a stark cameo contrast on both sides. Unbelievable quality in a rare early date in the Liberty double eagle series.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 26DN, PCGS# 89085)
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