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Impressive 1905 Liberty Double Eagle, PR64
With Considerable Cameo Contrast

1905 $20 PR64 NGC. After the enormous double eagle productions in 1904 at both Philadelphia and San Francisco totaling 11.4 million coins, the business strike production of the 1905-P issue was a meager 58,819 pieces. Moreover, the few gold collectors of that era preferred proof coins to Mint State business strikes; most business strikes entered circulation.
Both of those factors actually contribute today to the rarity of the proof issue: Few high-grade Mint State business strikes were saved to begin with, and, despite the recorded mintage of 92 proofs, some were undoubtedly spent during the next two or three decades when economic hard times hit.
Garrett and Guth (2006) comment concerning the 1905 proofs:

"Based on population data and auction records, it can be estimated that only 30 to 40 coins of the date have survived. Many undoubtedly entered circulation, as there are several impaired examples known. No gem coins of the date have been sold at auction in recent years."

Perusal of the combined NGC and PCGS population data shows that both services combined have certified an even 50 coins, minus an unknown number of duplicates that we would estimate as high as 30%, leaving 35 different remaining certified coins.
In 1902, for unknown reasons, the Mint changed its method of manufacturing proof gold, making the field-device contrast much less pronounced. Post-1902 proof gold coins with deep, stark contrast between thickly frosted devices and splendidly mirrored fields are seldom found. The present piece has a surprising amount of cameo contrast on each side, although it is unacknowledged on the NGC encapsulation. The piece has orange-gold surfaces with a well-balanced appearance. Just a hint of lilac appears around the margins.
Despite the deserved notoriety of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle design, proof Liberty Head twenties are among the United States' largest and most impressive gold coins, a memorable display that would make a cornerstone of a fine collection. Make this important coin high in your bidding considerations. Census: 7 in 64, 1 finer (8/09).(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 26ET, PCGS# 9121)

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Auction Dates
September, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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