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Dazzling 1888 Twenty, PR65 Ultra Cameo

1888 $20 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. The 1888 is a relatively obtainable date, both as a business strike and as a proof. With the business strikes this is hardly surprising, as 226,164 pieces were struck. On the other hand, only 103 proofs were produced. Of that number, it has been estimated that only 30 or so exist today. With only one-third of the mintage known today, the 1888 is still considered one of the most available proof twenties from the decade of the 1880s. This is a decade that has several notable rarities, including three proof-only dates (1883, 1884, 1887). The two major certification services have graded a total of 32 proofs of this date as non-Cameo, Cameo, and Deep/Ultra Cameo.
While as many as 30 or more proofs may actually be known today, condition is a problem for this date. This was recognized early on. In Breen's 1988 Encyclopedia, he noted: "Possibly 35-40 proofs survive, many nicked." When one examines the spread of grades in the population data for 1888 proofs, this is also borne out. Non-Cameo coins are heavily weighted at the lower end of the grading spectrum. The lowest is a PR55 and the finest are several PR64 examples. Most likely it was these pieces that Breen was referring to as "many nicked." The Cameo examples range from PR62 to PR66, with 10 pieces in PR64 to PR66 grades. The six Deep/Ultra proofs that have been certified are certainly not in the problem category. Two are PR64 and four are Gems.
This is a spectacular, deeply mirrored example. The fields display the typical orange-peel texture, and the depth of reflectivity contrasts sharply against the thick mint frost on the devices. Only the tiniest contact marks can be seen in the fields, and the devices appear to have been completely spared. Bright yellow-gold color overall and exceptional eye appeal.
From The Ultra Collection.(Registry values: P3) (PCGS# 99104)

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Auction Dates
March, 2008
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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