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Gem Cameo Proof 1904 Twenty

1904 $20 PR65 Cameo PCGS. CAC. Double eagle collectors are aware that the 1904 is the most plentiful business strike issue of the Liberty series. But while hundreds of thousands of 1904 twenties have been certified by NGC and PCGS, proofs of that date are rarities. Just 98 proofs were struck. PCGS has encapsulated 65 examples, and NGC has certified 38 pieces. Since that total (103 pieces) is greater than the mintage, it is apparent that there have been a number of resubmissions to the two major grading services over the past 23 years.
Five pieces have been certified by PCGS in circulated grades (two in PR55 and three in PR58). As late as the 1920s, proof double eagles carried little premium over face. Dealers such as B. Max Mehl would acquire gold proofs as part of an estate, then deposit them into a bank instead of adding them to a price list at a meager premium. There were few collectors of large denomination gold proofs until the 1930s, when gold was prized as a tangible asset yet became difficult to legally hold or acquire.
The major services have grade only one example as Deep Cameo or Ultra Cameo, by NGC as PR65 Ultra Cameo. The present piece is designed Cameo but displays impressive cameo frost, particularly on the portrait but also on the eagle and scrollwork. The devices possess a warm glow that contrasts nicely with the darkly mirrored fields.
As expected of a specimen striking, this proof has essentially full details. Even the curls in the hairbun exhibit exemplary definition. Prolonged study beneath a loupe locates a few faint hairlines on the outer plastic of the encapsulation, but the coin itself is splendidly preserved. It is tied for the honor of finest PCGS-certified. Population: 7 in 65 Cameo, 0 finer (3/09).(Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 26ES, PCGS# 89120)

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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