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1899 Ten Dollar, Essentially Flawless PR68 Ultra Cameo
The Finest Proof Known of Approximately 25 Survivors

1899 $10 PR68 ★ Ultra Cameo NGC. There is and should be no doubt that this piece is the finest existing 1899 proof eagle. In addition to this piece, the only PR68 example that either service has certified, NGC has certified two PR67 Ultra Cameo examples, and likewise, PCGS has certified two PR67 Deep Cameo coins. The 1899 proof mintage was just 86 coins, with a current estimated population of about 25 different coins, including two in the Smithsonian Institution.
Proofs struck in the 1890s, especially those from the last few years of that decade, are among the best-produced proofs until contemporary coins were produced in mass quantities. This is true of gold as well as silver proof coinage. The most notable years for high-grade proofs were 1896 and 1898. But 1897 and 1899 also show a remarkable attention to detail and display an almost "hand-crafted" quality. Garrett-Guth comment that, "Most were well preserved and hardly any were spent (unlike in previous years)." This is most likely because the date represented the final opportunity to have a proof, of whatever denomination, from the 19th century. An inordinately high number of proofs of this date have been through the grading services. Adding together non-Cameo, Cameo, and Ultra/Deep Cameo coins, there have been a total of 68 certification events. With an estimated population of 25 pieces, that number represents a high number of resubmissions. Undoubtedly the generally high quality of production and higher-than-usual level of preservation account for the ever-hopeful number of resubmissions and crossovers.
This amazing Superb Gem is fully brilliant with light yellow-gold surfaces. The fields are fully and deeply mirrored with the watery appearance of pristine proofs. Each side, but the obverse more so, has the often-encountered orange-peel texture commonly found on late 19th proof gold. All of the devices, including the central motifs, the peripheral stars, letters, and numerals, and the borders are fully and completely lustrous with exceptional mint frost. Careful examination with a 10x magnifier fails to reveal any visible pedigree markers. Those tiny flecks and flakes that are present are entirely minimal and virtually invisible to the naked eye.
Among the attractive proofs that we have either seen or handled, in addition to this coin, are the Garrett, Carter, Eliasberg, Bass, Norweb, Trompeter, and Pittman examples, in addition to the two Smithsonian Institution. In fact, the present piece might be from one of those named collections, although we are unable to make a specific match from existing plates. Census: 1 in 68 Ultra Cameo, 0 finer (11/11).
Ex: Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 5/2008), lot 3458.
From The Jim O'Neal Gold Type Collection.(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 28G6, PCGS# 98839)

View all of [The Jim O'Neal Gold Type Collection ]

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Auction Dates
January, 2012
3rd-8th Tuesday-Sunday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,115

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