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1885 Twenty Dollar
Strongly Contrasted PR63+ Cameo
Perhaps 22 Pieces Survive

1885 $20 PR63+ Cameo PCGS. CAC. The 1885 double eagle is not one of the rare proof-only issues of the 1880s, but it is the next-closest thing to it. The decade is dotted with proof-only emissions in the Liberty Head twenties, including the 1883, 1884, and 1887, each produced in proof format to the extent of a few dozen pieces, and each quite rare today.
In the case of the 1885, however, the recorded proof mintage of 77 pieces was a complement to a stingy production of business strikes, 751 according to Mint reports -- among the lowest business-strike productions in the entire series. In any case, both the business strike and the proof 1885 double eagles are avidly pursued at auction yet seldom offered, regardless of format.
Gold expert David Akers writes of the 1885 in his references, "Proofs of this date are very rare, on a par with the 1881 and 1883 and just a little less rare than the 1882 and 1884. Approximately 15-18 proofs are known."
The present coin is certified PR63+ Cameo by PCGS, one of only two Cameo coins appearing in the current Population Report, the other example being a PR66 Cameo. Including non-Cameo and Deep Cameo examples, the count at PCGS stands at nine submissions. NGC records 11 certifications, including one lightly circulated PR58 piece, making 20 at both services combined (less duplications), closely matching Akers' survival estimate. A few uncertified examples , like the coins in the collections of the American Numismatic Society and the Smithsonian Institution, brings the total number of known survivors to 22 (see lot 5426 for a detailed roster of 1885 proof double eagles). Strong contrast is evident over each side, with slight haziness that likely defines the grade created by light hairlines in the fields. Close examination with a loupe reveals subtle iridescence intermingling with the overall orange-gold color. Population: 1 in 63 (1 in 63+) Cameo, 1 finer (6/12).(Registry values: P5) (PCGS# 89101)

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Auction Dates
August, 2012
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 14
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