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Lavishly Contrasted Proof 1892 Double Eagle
Gem Deep Cameo, Two Finer at PCGS

1892 $20 PR65 Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC. If proof gold is hot these days, proof Liberty Head double eagles are on fire. At Heritage we have had a happy wealth of high-grade proof double eagles in our recent Signature auctions, and the results have been gratifying for all concerned -- consignors and bidders. A PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC-CAC example of the 1892 double eagle that we offered in our FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5295, brought $103,500, a nice price for a lovely Gem from the Henry Miller Collection that we described as having "frosty devices [that] create a stunning black-on-gold cameo flash." Five different bidders competed for the piece, and the price realized set a new record for a Gem-quality proof of the issue.
The 1892 double eagle is a rarity in both business-strike and proof format. Many of the Philadelphia Mint twenties from the 1880s and early 1890s were low-mintage issues, some of them fabulous rarities with memorably low production figures, such as the 1882 and 1885, at 571 and 751 business strikes, respectively. The emission of the 1892 business strikes was a meager 4,430 pieces, an effect of Treasury policy implemented in 1882 aimed at increasing the circulation of lower-denomination half eagles and eagles. The 1892 business strikes saw a complement of 93 recorded proofs, but it is a good bet that many were melted as unsold at year-end, a common Mint practice of the day. The experts at PCGS estimate that perhaps 24 to 28 coins survive today, a figure that aligns with the paucity of our auction offerings of this date, particularly with the Ultra Cameo or Deep Cameo designation.
That brings us to the present coin, an amazingly deep-contrasted proof with profoundly "black" fields and lavishly frosted devices. The surfaces are fully struck throughout and demonstrate under a loupe the faint orange-peel effect often seen on proof gold of the era. The only mentionable pedigree markers are a couple of small, curved lint marks, one one to the upper right of the 2 in the date and the other below star 13. This is another nice piece that should certainly fan the flames again when it crosses the auction block. Population: 2 in 65 Deep Cameo, 2 finer (6/11).(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 26ED, PCGS# 99108)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
11th-14th Thursday-Sunday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,312

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