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Incredibly Rare 1876 Cameo Proof Double Eagle

1876 $20 PR62 Cameo NGC. A splendid and desirable specimen of this Centennial-year rarity. This is a lovely Cameo proof example of the Type Two double eagle, produced only from 1866 to 1876 and distinguished from the following Type Three coinage by the abbreviation TWENTY D. rather than TWENTY DOLLARS. A total of 45 proofs were struck in 1876. In the Bass catalog, Bowers speculates that this was "perhaps in anticipation that visitors to the Centennial Exhibition of American Independence in nearby Fairmount Park would sally over to the Philadelphia Mint." If this was the case, they did not save them in higher numbers. Numismatic researcher Walter Breen, in his Encyclopedia, published in 1988, said only 8 to 10 proofs are thought to exist. The rarity of this coin is probably underrated. In fact, Breen also makes the same estimate of 8 to 10 pieces surviving for the 1875 proofs, of which only 20 were made.
The fields are highly reflective and provide excellent cameo contrast against the frosted devices. Improper storage, however, has led to numerous contact marks, digs, and other distractions, the most obvious located on the obverse in the exposed, highly reflective areas surrounding the cameo of Liberty, but also there are some minor marks on the cheek and neck. The reverse at first glance appears cleaner, but examination with a glass does reveal a scrape running from the F and above AME. The strike is bold with star centrils, hair details, and the eagle's feathers and shield all well brought up. Even with the obvious flaws, this remains an appealing and desirable Cameo proof of one of the rarest double eagle types. NGC reports a proof population of one in 62 Cameo (this coin), with nine higher, while PCGS has certified two coins in Proof 62 (non-Cameo), with eight higher (10/05). This is undoubtedly another example of multiple resubmissions and crossovers from one service to another.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 25EK, PCGS# 89091)

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Auction Dates
January, 2006
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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