1881 $20 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC. in 1881, the Philadelphia Mint produced both business strikes and proofs, all in very limite...
Gem Ultra Cameo Proof 1881 Double Eagle1881 $20 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC. in 1881, the Philadelphia Mint produced both business strikes and proofs, all in very limited quantities, and today, this date is one of the most important in the entire series. Total production amounted to just 2,220 business strikes and 61 proofs. Today, it is believed that about 12 of the former and 20 of the latter survive. Among the proofs are examples in the Smithsonian Institution, the ANS, and those in the Garrett, Eliasberg, and Trompeter collections. Eliasberg actually had two different coins. We have been unable to trace the pedigree of this example from the Lake Highlands Collection, but we are certain it is not any of those just mentioned. Perhaps the only visible imperfection, which may or may not appear in older catalog photos, is a short line of discoloration extending up from the leading edge of the coronet, into the field near star 6.
The fields are deeply mirrored with the watery or wavy appearance of nearly all proof gold coins from this era. Both sides have highly lustrous and exceptionally well detailed devices, although Liberty's chin has a polished area, much like a goatee. The numismatic connoisseur will be delighted to learn that this example exhibits no defects, whether Mint-made or post-striking. The numismatic student will be a little disappointed for the same reason, in that this complete lack of imperfections will mean the pedigree tracking will be nearly impossible. All 61 proofs were struck from a single die pair, while business strikes were from a different obverse, but possibly the same reverse. Proofs have the left base of the first 1 over the center of a dentil while business strikes have the left edge of this digit over the right edge of a dentil. The entire mintage of proof 1881 double eagles came from three different groups. The first group included 40 coins that were sold as part of proof sets in February. The next was a tiny selection of four coins that were delivered in the second q(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 2600, PCGS# 99097)
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