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    Description

    1884 Liberty Eagle, PR65 Cameo
    Rare Proof Gold Issue
    16-20 Examples Extant

    1884 $10 PR65 Cameo NGC. CAC. Only 45 proof Liberty eagles were struck in 1884, the lowest production total for any gold denomination that year. Thirty pieces were delivered for inclusion in the proof sets on January 19, with another 15 coins delivered at intervals throughout the year. The proof sets were almost all broken up in the early-mid 20th century, due to pressure from date collectors seeking an example of the double eagle, which was a proof-only issue. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population of the proof eagle at 16-20 examples in all grades. NGC and PCGS together have certified 15 examples in all grades, including an unknown number of resubmissions and crossovers (6/17). One specimen is sequestered in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and another is in the collection of the American Numismatic Society.

    We believe the coin offered here was purchased directly from the Philadelphia Mint as part of a complete gold proof set by Pittsburgh collector David S. Wilson in 1884. Wilson had a remarkable run of gold proof sets from 1860-1905 when his collection was sold by S.H. Chapman in 1907. Henry Chapman purchased the proof set in lot 344 of that sale for $135, but he was probably acting as an agent for William Cutler Atwater, the next owner-of-record for this coin. Fort Worth coin dealer B. Max Mehl sold Atwater's fabulous collection in 1946, but he split up the proof sets and offered each coin individually throughout the catalog. Mehl noted:

    "Practically all the gold proofs in this great Collection are from proof sets, a goodly number of which were secured at the Wilson Sale in 1907."



    Fort Worth businessman Amon Carter, Sr. purchased this 1884 proof eagle from another Mehl sale in 1947, and the coin remained in the Carter Family Collection until that gathering was sold in 1984, via Stack's. The coin was purchased at the Carter sale by Ed Trompeter, who formed the greatest collection of proof gold coins of all time. Heritage Auctions acquired much of Trompeter's collection from his estate, after his death.

    This coin is a delightful Gem proof, with razor-sharp definition on all design elements. The fields are deeply mirrored, creating bold cameo contrast with the frosty devices. Both sides are orange-gold in color with a single identifying contact mark in the obverse field inside and below star 2. This coin is tied with two other examples at NGC for finest-certified honors with the Cameo designation (6/17). Among proof eagles of the 1880s, the 1884 is one of the most difficult issues to locate in high grade. It may be years before a comparable specimen becomes available.
    Ex: Possibly purchased directly from the Mint by David S. Wilson as part of a complete gold proof set in 1884; Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), lot 344; Henry Chapman; William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1462; Frederic W. Geiss Collection (B. Max Mehl, 2/1947), lot 1906; Amon Carter, Sr.; Amon Carter, Jr.; Carter Family Collection (Stack's, 1/84), lot 780, where it realized $23,100; Ed Trompeter; Ed Trompeter Estate; Heritage Rare Coin Galleries circa 1998; Philadelphia Signature (Heritage, 8/2000), lot 7394.(Registry values: P3) (NGC ID# 42FA, PCGS# 88824)

    Weight: 16.72 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    2nd-6th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 496

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