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1873 Liberty Double Eagle, PR65 Ultra Cameo
1873 $20 Closed 3 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. Our review of
auction offerings shows that the 1873 proof double eagle may be
rarer than previously thought. In 1980 David Akers suggested that
not more than 10 proofs survive. More recently, Jeff Garrett and
Ron Guth placed the number of survivors at 10 to 12 coins. The
mintage was a mere 25 pieces, and we have only traced eight
distinctly different specimens, although a couple of others may
still exist. In addition to those eight coins, there are nine older
auction appearances that are most likely included among the eight
in our list, and there are also two other pieces that Walter Breen
mentioned in his Proof Encyclopedia. Our roster also shows
that the present specimen is the finest of those eight pieces, and
it is probably the finest known 1873 proof double eagle.
Closed 3 Date Logotype
Probably the Finest Known Specimen
Certified pieces include the following: PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC; PR65 Cameo NGC; PR64 Ultra Cameo NGC; PR64 Cameo NGC (2); PR64 PCGS (2); PR63 Ultra Cameo NGC; PR63 PCGS; PR62 Ultra Cameo NGC; and PR61 PCGS (2). The 12 certified coins clearly represent some resubmissions. Interestingly, none of the PCGS-certified examples appear in our roster.
Numismatist Harry X Boosel made the year 1873 famous through his study of die varieties in an era when few numismatists made note of such things. He was especially keen on the date variations, and made famous the Closed 3 (Close 3) and Open 3 variations. Through the course of his study, he also formed a world-class collection of coins issued during the year, including a proof double eagle that Harry Bass acquired from the 1972 sale.
Harry Boosel was born in Chicago in 1912 and served the government for 36 years including four years with the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps. He was also active in numismatics, including service to the ANA Board of Governors, membership in the ANS, president of the Chicago Coin Club, and president of the Central States Numismatic Society. He also served on the 1964 Assay Commission. He was of Russian heritage, his parents immigrating in 1901. He was the only son of his parents, with three sisters. He lived another 22 years after the sale of his collection and died in Miami in 1994. Boosel was married to Tillie Sicher in 1950.
1. PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. Amon Carter Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 895; Ed Trompeter Collection; American Numismatic Rarities (1/2005), lot 1023 as PR65 Cameo NGC. The present specimen.
2. PR64 Ultra Cameo NGC. Harry X Boosel (RARCOA, 4/1972), lot 674; Harry W. Bass, Jr. (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1815; Heritage (1/2010), lot 2274.
3. PR64 Cameo NGC. W. Foster Ely; W. Elliot Woodward (9/5/1883); Garrett Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/1980), lot 792; Heritage (8/1992), lot 780; Superior (1/1993), lot 1520.
4. PR63 Ultra Cameo NGC. Heritage (1/2011), lot 5282.
5. PR63 Cameo. U.S. Mint; National Numismatic Collection; Smithsonian Institution.
6. PR63. Bowers and Ruddy (2/1974), lot 783; Superior (2/1987), lot 4313; Superior (2/1992), lot 3027.
7. PR62 Ultra Cameo NGC. Bowers and Merena (3/2006), lot 2210.
8. Proof. American Numismatic Society, ex: Brock, Morgan.
A. RARCOA (5/1977).
B. Stack's (5/1957), lot 651
C. Baldenhofer (Stack's, 1955), lot 1538
D. Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 1946), lot 1264.
E. Bell Collection (Stack's, 1944).
F. Kreisberg-Schulman (3/1965), lot 185. Plate unavailable.
G. Adolphe Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 1811. No photo.
H. Memorable Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 695. No photo.
I. F.C.C. Boyd (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946), lot 876. No photo.
J. Lansing, Michigan, cornerstone, per Walter Breen.
K. Government of India Set, per Walter Breen.
As we noted earlier, we believe the present Gem Ultra Cameo proof is the finest known 1873 Closed 3 double eagle. It is a highly appealing piece with fully brilliant yellow surfaces and "black and gold" contrast. This nearly flawless piece shows a few lint marks mostly hidden in the design elements, along with a few planchet flakes in the fields that appear to be as struck. The strike is absolutely bold on both sides, with full design elements that perfectly reflect the detail in the dies. This piece is everything that the connoisseur could hope to obtain in a Type Two Liberty twenty, destined to be a showpiece in a world-class collection.
From The Slotkin Family Trust Collection.(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 26DS, PCGS# 99088)
View all of [The Slotkin Family Trust Collection ]
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