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Finest Known 1874 PR64 Ultra Cameo Double Eagle

1874 $20 PR64 Ultra Cameo NGC. While the circulation-strike examples of the 1874 double eagle are relatively common (366,780 mintage), proofs of this dated are extremely rare. Only 20 coins were struck, making this the lowest number of proof double eagles produced after 1858. Writing in their recent book Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins, 1795-1933, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth say that: "Today, fewer than 10 examples can be traced, including the two that are housed in the Smithsonian and the American Numismatic Society. At least one or two examples known are seriously impaired. The date has also been missing from many important collections offered in the last two decades, including the Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection, which was nearly complete. An NGC PR-64 coin sold at auction in mid-2004 for $103,500."

David Akers, writing in United States Gold Coins, An Analysis of Auction Records, Volume VI, Double Eagles, 1849-1933, states that: "Proofs of this date (1874) are among the rarest after 1860. Of the 20 minted, less than half can be accounted for today." Douglas Winter and Michael Fuljenz, in their treatise entitled Type Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic History and Analysis, state: "It is estimated that seven to nine of these (1874 proof double eagles) exist today with the finest being a lovely NGC Proof-64 which is part of the Ed Trompeter Collection of United States proof gold coins." And Walter Breen suggests that: "Possibly 7-9 proofs survive."

The population figures indicate that a total of 11 1874 proof twenties have been seen by NGC and PCGS. A PR60, a PR63, and two PR64's have been certified by PCGS. NGC graded one PR63 Cameo, and three PR64 Cameos. NGC certified one PR62 Ultra Cameo, while a PR62 Deep Cameo was seen by PCGS. An NGC-graded PR64 Ultra Cameo, the piece offered in the current sale, is the finest known of all certified 1874 double eagle proofs.

Both sides of this gorgeous 1874 near-Gem Ultra Cameo are embraced with attractive peach-gold color, and outstanding motif-field contrast assumes a gold-on-black appearance when the coin is viewed from directly overhead. A well-executed strike manifests itself in sharp definition on all of the design features, including the star centrils, Liberty's hair, the eagle's plumage, and the horizontal and vertical lines of the shield. An even higher grade is precluded by a few wispy obverse handling marks. A curved lint mark located beneath Liberty's eye may help to pedigree the coin. This outstanding example is sure to draw the interest of aficionados of gold coinage who want nothing but the best. As such, we expected spirited bidding on what is the finest known 1874 proof double eagle. Census: 1 in 64 Ultra Cameo, 0 finer (12/06).(Registry values: P6) (NGC ID# 26DT, PCGS# 99089)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
3rd-6th Wednesday-Saturday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 330

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