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Magnificent 1904 Double Eagle, PR64 Cameo

1904 $20 PR64 Cameo NGC. With an original mintage of just 98 specimens, the 1904 has a tiny mintage consistent with that of proof double eagles from nearby years. Garrett and Guth (2006) claim that the issue has the largest surviving population of any proof Liberty double eagle, but caution that resubmissions to grading services have inflated the numbers reported by the major grading services. Indeed, the combined records of NGC and PCGS list over 100 pieces, a clear indication that not all specimens were graded only once.
Beginning with the 1902 issue, the proportion of proof double eagles certified with Cameo contrast drops significantly, and the quality of the cameo effect decreases as well. This strongly correlates with a suspected change in Mint techniques for striking proofs, believed to have occurred near the beginning of the 20th century. The effect is visible for both silver and gold proofs, and the change is nearly as dramatic for Barber coinage.
Yet the contrast visible on both sides of this gleaming near-Gem is undeniable. The exquisitely defined obverse portrait has a moderate layer of frost, and while the reverse has slightly less contrast, the cameo effect on that side is pronounced as well. The fathomless yellow-gold mirrors reflect at arm's length, and only a hint of haze in the obverse fields interferes with the otherwise black-and-gold appearance. Immensely appealing despite a handful of hairlines in the fields, this gorgeous specimen is an excellent choice for the type collector seeking a proof Liberty double eagle or the ambitious connoisseur assembling a set of these elusive, challenging coins. Census: 15 in 64 Cameo, 4 finer (6/07).(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 26ES, PCGS# 89120)

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Auction Dates
August, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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