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1885 Ten Dollar, PR65 Cameo
Rarer Than Even the Mintage Implies
Ex: Amon Carter

1885 $10 PR65 Cameo PCGS. The eagle is the most challenging of the 13 proof issues that comprised a complete 1885 proof set. (The 1885 Trade dollar was surreptitiously made and not included in the set.) Only 67 proof 1885 eagles were struck, 30 of which were sold as part of proof sets. This mintage is actually one coin higher than that of the half eagle, but the eagle is rarer nonetheless.
In fact, the 1885 is far rarer than its mintage would suggest, and its rarity eclipses that of earlier issues with lower mintages. According to Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth (2005),

"The number of auction appearances for this date is much less than it is for the 1884 issue, indicating that the Mint was not successful in selling all of the coins it had made. If this was a case of collectors spending their Proof coins at a later date, one would expect a number of circulated or impaired proofs to be on the market, which is not reflected to any significant degree in the coins seen

Mint records, however, do not show that any proof eagles went unsold and were melted, but the extremely low number of survivors would indicate otherwise.
Breen (1977) estimates the population to be "under 9," and there are three examples that are permanently impounded in institutional collections (two in the Smithsonian and one in the American Numismatic Society). The number of survivors is probably a little higher than Breen thought, but not by much. In the past two decades the 1885 has appeared at auction only eight times, and three of those sales represent the same coin (ex: Garrett/Bass).
The present coin is the finest example certified by PCGS. NGC has certified one example in PR65 Cameo and two finer: a 65 Ultra Cameo and a 66 Ultra Cameo (7/11). Deep reddish-gold patina drapes both sides of this illustrious Gem. The fields have a pronounced orange-peel texture and there is vivid cameo contrast on both sides. Some slight haze appears around the devices on the reverse. There are no marks worthy of mention. A truly stunning example of this rare and perhaps underrated issue.
Ex: Amon G. Carter, Jr. Family Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 781; flip accompanies. (Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 28FP, PCGS# 88825)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 12
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