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Gleaming PR64 Cameo 1904 Twenty
Ideal Cameo Proof Type Selection

1904 $20 PR64 Cameo NGC. Mintages of proof double eagles whipsawed wildly at the beginning of the 1900s, from 124 pieces in 1900 to 96, 114, 158, and 98 in following years. To make matters even more confusing, the 1904 issue--which corresponds to the 98 figure--is the one Jeff Garrett considers "the most common issue of the type in Proof," according the Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins. Of course, resubmissions are in play with this issue, as they are in so many others; as far back as 2006, the year the first edition of the Encyclopedia came out, there were already more certification events (100) than coins already minted.
Of course, proof gold always poses a challenge, even if the 1904 proof twenty, like its famously abundant business strike counterpart, is the ideal type coin for its series. Compounding the difficulty for collectors who prefer the 19th century frosted-device look to the uniformly brilliant trend of 20th century Liberty gold is the lack of contrast on 1904 examples; Garrett and Guth write that "[m]ost of the examples seen also have very little, if any, cameo surfaces."
Counter to the trend toward brilliance, this coin is undeniably contrasted on both obverse and reverse. Neither side shows the thick and deliberate frostiness of years past, but the creamy texture of the portrait is rewarding in its own right. Sharply struck devices are nearly fault-free, though a horizontal contact is noted in the right reverse field, just to the left of the I in AMERICA. NGC has graded just five numerically finer Cameo representatives (7/11).(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 26ES, PCGS# 89120)

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Auction Dates
September, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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