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Choice 1884 Liberty Double Eagle, A Rare and Coveted Proof-Only Issue

1884 $20 PR64 PCGS. An issue that needs no introduction among gold specialists, the 1884 was produced solely in specimen, or proof format. The official mintage is 71 coins, which is fewer than those of the proof-only 1883 and 1887 deliveries. Perhaps not surprisingly, the 1884 is the rarest issue of this trio, but just how rare has been a matter of debate within numismatic circles. For years, Walter Breen's estimate of 16-20 pieces extant was widely accepted as fact. However, Mike Fuljenz and Doug Winter offer a range of just 15-17 coins in the 2000 book Type Three Double Eagles 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis, and we have also seen estimates of as few as 12 pieces receive credit. Regardless of which of these estimates is closest to the truth, there can be no doubt that our offering of the present specimen represents a numismatic event of undeniable significance.
We are aware of only five other auction appearances for the 1884 Double Eagle over the past nine years:

1. Ex: Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1891, where it realized $46,000. This coin was certified PR63 by PCGS at the time of the sale.

2. Ex: Dallas Bank Collection (Stack's/Sotheby's, 10/2001), lot 94, where it realized $48,875. Cataloged as "Choice Brilliant Proof."

3. Ex: Eagle Collection of Double Eagles (Heritage, 1/2002), lot 4149, where it realized $54,625. Graded PR64 Cameo at NGC.

4. Ex: FUN Signature Sale Platinum Night--The North Shore Collection (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 3225, where it realized $149,500. An exquisite NGC PR66 Cameo specimen.

5. Ex: Long Beach Signature Sale (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 7590, where it realized $103,500. Certified PR63 PCGS.

We do not know the prior pedigree of the specimen that we are offering in the present sale, but we are fairly certain that it is not one of the pieces listed above. This coin is identifiable by a tiny planchet flaw (as produced) in the obverse field before Liberty's brow.
Needle sharp striking definition and dominant reddish-gold color are seen on both sides. The color becomes somewhat variegated in select areas in the obverse field and through the center of the reverse, but all features are uncommonly mark-free for a gold coin of this size. The uniformly reflective finish sparkles as the coin rotates under a light.
From The Greenwich Collection, Part One.(#9100) (NGC ID# 34LZ, PCGS# 9100)

View all of [The Greenwich Collection, Part One ]

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Auction Dates
June, 2004
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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