1884 $20, CA
1884 Proof Double Eagle--Extremely Rare, Proof-Only Issue1884 $20 PR64 Cameo NGC. The 1884 is the rarest of the three proof-only Liberty Head Double Eagles struck in the 1880s. Taking into consideration the total number known in all grades, it is the rarest Liberty Head Twenty regularly issued of this design, and among all varieties of the Liberty Head type it trails only the 1861 Paquet reverse.
Only 71 examples were struck and the survival rate is somewhat lower than for other proof Double Eagles of this era. Walter Breen estimated that "16 to 20" were known, but based on the number of auction appearances for this date in the past ten years, we believe a more reasonable estimate is 12 to 15 pieces. It should be remembered that two or three of these are impounded in museums and another one or two are impaired, which leaves an extremely limited number of pieces available to the serious collector.
This piece is deeply cameoed with thick mint frost on the devices set against an unfathomable depth of reflectivity in the mirrored fields. The fields also show the "orange peel" effect common to this issue as well as other proof gold coins from the 1880s. A peculiar diagnostic of the 1884 is an area of granularity which runs from the inside of the ear down past the outside of the hair curls to above the designer's initials. This is seen on all proof 1884 Double Eagles, and it has no effect on the value of the coin. A few small contact marks are scattered over each side, these accounting for the less-than-Gem grade designation.
Recent records for the 1884 Double Eagle include the following:
Dallas Bank Collection (Stack's/Sotheby's, 10/01), lot 94, which brought $48,875. Cataloged as "Choice Brilliant Proof."
Ex: Harry Bass II (Bowers and Merena, 10/99), lot 1891, which realized $46,000; Garrett Collection (Stack's 3/76), lot 482. Graded PR63 by PCGS.
No other pieces were sold at auction between early 1995 and the aforementioned Bass II coin. The example in the Trompeter Collection was sold by Heritage privately and was graded PR63.
This is another highlight of the Eagle Collection and it should realize a price in the mid-five figure range. (PCGS# 89100)
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