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Majestic PR63 Cameo 1880 Double Eagle

1880 $20 PR63 Cameo NGC. CAC. The proof 1880 double eagle has considerably more in common with the extreme rarities of the 1870s than the "semi-accessible" dates of the 1880s. While issues such as the 1886 and 1887 might have as many as two dozen known survivors or possibly even more, supply of the proof 1880 double eagle is far more restricted.
Writing in 2006, Garrett and Guth give a powerful illustration of the date's rarity in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins: "The 1880 double eagle is one of the rarest issues of the 1870s or 1880s in Proof. Only two examples have appeared at auction in the last two decades. Of the 36 coins struck, just 10 to 12 coins are known today. These include two in the Smithsonian and another in the American Numismatic Society." As rare as these coins might be, the inclusion of three permanently museum-impounded pieces in the census and the lack of auction records suggests that the opportunity to own one of these important coins may well be rarer than the coins themselves.
The proof 1880 double eagle offered here is a luminous coin with great inherent majesty. Powerful mirrors are lightly toned-over and moderately hairlined, yet their delicate orange-peel texture provides a perfectly contrasting backdrop to the thick frost gracing the boldly impressed central devices. A few minor coppery elements are present along the rims, adding further character to the coin, while a single tiny contact is noted close to 10 o'clock on the obverse, on the rim between stars 4 and 5.
From The Henry Miller Collection.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 26DZ, PCGS# 89096)

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Auction Dates
January, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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