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1898 Double Eagle, Gem Cameo Proof
No Cameos Finer at PCGS

1898 $20 PR65 Cameo PCGS. CAC. The U.S. Mint seemingly took extra care with some of the proof coinage issues of the late 19th century. The years 1896 and 1898, in particular, stand out for some of the most remarkable proof survivors of the era. The Morgan dollars of those two years are well-known for their high quality -- frequently found with Cameo or Deep/Ultra Cameo surfaces as designated by PCGS and NGC, respectively -- but the gold coinage of those years also excels.

The present Gem Cameo proof 1898 double eagle is a case in point. Including possible resubmissions, PCGS has seen only two submissions in PR65 Cameo and none finer, while NGC shows six Cameos in PR65 with two finer, both PR66 (2/13). The original mintage was 75 proofs, but David Akers estimates that perhaps one-third survive today in all grades, a couple of dozen pieces or so. What is certain is that the certified population data are sprinkled with duplications.

For collectors of the finest numismatic trophies, the 1896 and 1898 double eagles should be near the top of the list for potential proof gold acquisitions. A coin such as the present Gem Cameo might represent an optimal grade for such a collection; both Deep/Ultra Cameo and/or higher-graded examples will fetch much stronger prices, although this piece will require a highly competitive bid. It has been nearly nine years since we offered another example in PR65 Cameo PCGS. Lot 7702 in our Pittsburgh Signature (Heritage, 8/2004) brought $80,500. More recently, Stack's Bowers offered a PR66 Cameo NGC example (Stack's Bowers, 8/2011), lot 7783, that brought $126,500.

This Gem Cameo PCGS coin is remarkably free -- for a large, soft gold coin well over 100 years old -- of any mentionable or singular contact marks, in accord with the grade. Magnification reveals a few scattered, light field hairlines that simply do not detract from the grade or the eye appeal. Generous mint frost on the golden devices contrasts deeply with jet-black mirrored fields. A tiny Mint-derived planchet flaw is located above a ray just below the A in STATES, barely noticeable and only noted for pedigree purposes. A marvelous example of this archetypal Liberty Head proof double eagle issue.(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 26EK, PCGS# 89114)

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Auction Dates
April, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 13
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Page Views: 885

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