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1887 $20 PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS....

2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction #1151

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Auction Ended On: Jan 6, 2011
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Tampa Convention Center
333 S. Franklin St.
Tampa, FL 33602

1887 Twenty, PR64 Deep Cameo
Exceptional Contrast and Color
Rare, Proof-Only Year
1887 $20 PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS. In 1883, 1884, and 1887, the Philadelphia Mint only struck proof double eagles for collectors. There were no business strikes minted in those years. Today, the few surviving proofs from each of those years are the only coins available to Liberty double eagle specialists, with about 30 or fewer examples for each year. With a mintage of 121 proofs in 1887, the surviving population should be higher, except that twenty dollars was a considerable sum to put away every year, even for well-financed 19th century collectors. In addition, there is relatively little doubt than many of the proof double eagles minted in 1887 remained unsold, only to be melted at a later date. Finally, an unspecified number of pieces were probably spent or melted some 45 to 50 years after they were struck, when those formerly well-financed collectors, or their heirs, found a need for money during the Great Depression. Among the pieces that have survived are two examples in the Smithsonian Institute, both that grade PR64 Deep Cameo, as the current specimen does.
While a complete Census remains to be compiled, longtime collectors Harry Bass, Amon Carter, Louis Eliasberg, John Work Garrett, and Byron Reed each owned an example, in addition to the two Smithsonian coins and another specimen in the American Numismatic Society cabinet. Our additional auction record file of less than 40 appearances over the same number of years probably accounts for an additional 15 to 20 different specimens, mostly in lower numerical grades. While NGC and PCGS have certified a total of 25 different submissions over the years, the total also probably represents about 15 coins, many that overlap the 15 to 20 different examples from auction appearances. All of that information suggests a surviving population of 1887 twenties in the range of 30 to 35 coins, including pristine pieces as well as those that are cleaned, repaired, or circulated.
This gorgeous piece has a bold, highly detailed strike with complete hair detail on the obverse, as well as exceptional feather details on the reverse. All other design details are amazingly sharp as well. The fields are deeply mirrored and nearly perfect with sensational contrast as they frame the frosty yellow-gold devices. Both sides display even, rich reddish-gold color. By definition, proof gold coins are rare, and proof double eagles are the rarest of the rare. The cream, of course, are the three proof-only issues, as they must address the demand from proof collectors as well as double eagle specialists. Population: 4 in 64 Deep Cameo, 1 finer (11/10).
From The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: P5) (PCGS# 99103)

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