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1883 Proof Double Eagle--An Extremely Rare Proof-Only Issue1883 $20 PR64 Cameo NGC. The 1883 is the first of three legendary proof-only Liberty Head Double Eagles produced during the 1880s. It is not quite as rare as the 1884 but it is decidedly rarer than the 1887. This makes it the second rarest Liberty Head Double Eagle (not including the 1861 Paquet reverse), in terms of the total number that exist in all grades.
While 92 proofs were struck, it appears that 40 or so of these were never released and later melted. It is more likely that 50 or so were made available to collectors and, of these, an estimated 15 to 20 are known today. This includes three or four impounded in museum collections and a small number that are impaired as a result of poor handling.
This deeply mirrored example shows a bit of haziness over the orange-peel texture in the fields. A few small contact marks are scattered about each side, which prevent a full Gem grade.
There have been very few 1883 Double Eagles sold in recent years. Some notable auction records include the following:
Dallas Bank Collection (Stack's/Sotheby's, 10/01), lot 91, where it realized $126,500. Cataloged as "Choice Brilliant Proof" but actually finer than the stated grade.
Ex: Harry Bass II (Bowers and Merena, 10/99), lot 1884, where it realized $89,700; Garrett Collection (Stack's, 3/76), lot 476. Graded PR64 by PCGS.
Kingswood (8/99), lot 1041, which brought $104,650. Graded PR65 by PCGS.
Kingswood (6/98), lot 741, which realized $88,550. Graded PR64 by PCGS. Same as the coin above?
This is an extremely important coin that is unquestionably one of the highlights of the Eagle Collection Sale. As a rule, this date appears for sale at the rate of around one coin per year. If you have been waiting for the right opportunity to buy a proof 1883 Double Eagle, the timing may be perfect. (NGC ID# 26E4, PCGS# 89099)
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