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Seldom-Seen Gem Proof Ultra Cameo
1895 Double Eagle, One Finer at NGC

1895 $20 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. The original mintage of the 1895 proof double eagles was a meager 51 pieces, but today the PCGS website estimates that less than half that many survive in all grades, 20 to 24 pieces, more precisely, with only six in Gem or finer condition. The present Gem Ultra Cameo NGC-graded proof is exceeded at that service by a single PR66 Ultra Cameo, and there are none numerically finer, regardless of contrast level. PCGS has certified a single Deep Cameo proof at the PR66 grade level.
The surfaces front and back are fully struck, showing all of the Liberty Head design's intricate detail to maximum advantage. The Ultra Cameo designation means that the surfaces show an optimal (and profoundly deep) contrast between fields and devices, easily fading to the desirable gold-on-black appearance with a slight turn of the coin. The obverse shows little sign of contact beyond some minuscule marks in the right field behind Liberty's head. A short, sharp, diagonal scrape through the upper shield on the reverse appears to determine the grade but is not overt.
As the PCGS estimates cited above might indicate, the 1895 is an issue infrequently seen at the Gem Deep/Ultra Cameo level. The last Gem that we offered was a PR65 Cameo NGC example that brought $71,875 in our Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2012), lot 5056. The only record we have of another Gem Ultra Cameo was a Teletrade piece that brought $117,600 in the auction of June 27, 2008, lot 1121.
This is among the scarcer series entries from the late 19th century to find in so high a grade, and the 1895 date is one that appeals to many collectors as well. The opportunity to obtain this prize exists but will not long last. Census: 1 in 65 Ultra Cameo, 1 finer (2/12).
From The William D. Plumley Collection.(Registry values: P2) (PCGS# 99111)

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Auction Dates
April, 2012
18th-22nd Wednesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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