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Important 1882 Double Eagle, PR66 Ultra Cameo
By Far the Finest Graded
First Ultra Cameo We Have Offered

1882 $20 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. The 1882 Philadelphia double eagles continued a trend begun in 1881 Philadelphia, to deliberately reduce the numbers of Liberty Head twenties and quarter eagles struck, in order to concentrate on the production of half eagles and eagles. The 1881 double eagles saw 2,199 circulation strikes produced plus 61 proofs, followed by the remarkably low mintage of 571 pieces for the 1882 business strikes, plus a nominal complement of 59 proofs.
While the new prioritization to strike half eagles and eagles at the expense of double eagles and quarter eagles affected all U.S. mints including the branch facilities in one way or another, it was keenly felt at the Mother Mint in Philadelphia, which could normally be counted on to strike hundreds of thousands of double eagles during earlier years.
Rusty Goe provides an explanation for the policy shift in The Mint on Carson Street, concerning the 1882-CC twenties:

"It was the Treasury's conviction that if more gold coins in denominations less than twenty dollars were in reserve at Mint offices around the country, depositors would accept these coins in payment in lieu of waiting for additional double eagles to be struck. As stated in the Director of the Mint's Annual Report, 'while the law gives the depositor the option into what denominations his bullion shall be coined, if in lieu of waiting for such coins to be struck he asserts his right to be paid the value out of the bullion funds kept by the Treasury at the Mint ... he must take such funds and denominations as are lawfully provided.' "

The remarkably low mintage of 1882 double eagles means, of course, that proofs have filled in since the early days for the (mostly absent) high-grade circulation strikes. And in fact, earlier collectors mostly preferred to collect proofs over business strikes, whether low-mintage or not. David Akers wrote in his classic gold references, "As a business strike, the 1882 is the second rarest Liberty Head Double Eagle after the excessively rare 1861 Paquet, more rare than the 1856-O, 1854-O or 1870-CC."
All of the foregoing makes the offering of the present 1882 proof double eagle, certified PR66 Ultra Cameo by NGC and with the added CAC approval, one of the foremost items in the present sale. It is unsurprising to find that this is the first Ultra Cameo or Deep Cameo example of this date that we have ever handled, and in keeping with the designation, the surfaces display exceptionally deep mirrors and thick mint frost, combining for profound contrast. The fields show the expected orange-peel effect on each side, and the prevailing color is a lovely orange-gold. The only pedigree identifiers are a tiny planchet flake in the field out from star 12 on the obverse, and shallow streakiness in the planchet on the right side of the reverse.
It has been almost two years since we even offered a Cameo example of the 1882 proof, a PR64 Cameo NGC example that sold for $161,000 in our FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5287. In 2004 we offered a PR64 NGC non-Cameo specimen (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 7589, in an old PCGS green-label holder that realized $60,375 even then.
NGC has certified a total of four PR64 Cameo coins of this issue and two in PR65 Ultra Cameo, making the present PR66 Ultra Cameo by far the finest certified. The finest at PCGS is a single PR65 Deep Cameo example.
The importance of this singular coin will be abundantly clear to double eagle and proof gold specialists alike.
From The Gnome at the Shore Collection.(Registry values: P4) (NGC ID# 26E3, PCGS# 99098)

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Auction Dates
October, 2012
18th-21st Thursday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 2,814

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