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    Description

    The Finest Certified Example
    A Legendary Rarity

    Meiji gold Proof 20 Yen Year 13 (1880) PR64 Cameo NGC, Osaka mint, KM-Y13, JNDA 1-1, JV-L4. The final installment of these Proof Meiji 13 issues, from a tiny original mintage of 103 pieces. Like the smaller gold denominations for sale here, this selection produces the same, iridescent rose glow that effortlessly fills the mirrors, along with an impeccably executed strike on both sides. The beautifully rendered design illustrations offer a premium level of technical execution, and the surfaces remain free of visible evidence of careless handling. Other than a PR63 that we sold back in 2011 which realized $230,000, there have been two other recorded examples offered (1999 Pittman Collection and 1990 Christie's London auction), which brought $149,500 and $164,065 respectively. As possibly the finest extant, this piece is likely to generate even greater enthusiasm than those previous seen.
    From the Commander Collection

     

    ---More on the Meiji 13 (1880) Proof Set---


    On its existence...

    The Meiji 13 proof set is among the most significant numismatic items in the world, not only because of the incredible rarity of each of the set's components, but because of its presentation role, undeniably gifted to heads-of-state or high-ranking foreign liaisons during this infancy period of Japan's opening to the western world. These sets certainly played an integral role in the development of relationships, which ultimately would not only shape Japan as a nation, but the many nations who reciprocated in trade.

    On its rarity...

    While mintage figures for several of the denominations in proof have been recorded, and they are all tiny, their survival rate appears to be much smaller, alarmingly so in fact (with well below 10 of most denominations known), with other factors surely contributing to the set's extreme rarity. Perhaps the most likely scenario is that only a small portion of those struck were actually distributed, with the ungifted pieces either having been melted or even later finding their way into circulation. The appearance of several circulated specimens in our offering of the Norman Jacobs collection in 2011 would seem to support this theory. Further, the uneven published mintages, ranging from 77 (10 sen) to 179 (50 sen) [note: the rin, with a listed mintage of 810, while appearing seldomly, does seem to have been produced in regular circulating condition] would logically point to a maximum of 77 sets, with many duplicates becoming "unnecessary".  While we are aware of no fully intact sets, it seems inconceivable that these presentation coins, especially those not in gold, would have been officially distributed in any manner other than as a full set.

    On comparable numismatic items...

    There are few numismatic issues worldwide that compare in composition and stature to the Meiji 13 set, with the most well-known clearly being those struck by the United States during the administration of President Andrew Jackson in the mid-1830s. That set, produced for similar diplomatic reasons, contained 11 items (4 gold, 5 silver, 2 copper), including a small gold medal with the President's likeness and the individually-famous 1804 dollar. Similar in rarity, we know of only a single instance where this presentation remains "intact", that being the set gifted to the King of Siam. Kept from the public eye for over a century, the set re-surfaced in the late 1950s in London with the half dime and medal missing. Most recently, the set was sold in 2005 for $8.5 million. If re-offered today as individual pieces, both Dollar and Ten Dollar piece from this set alone, both dated 1804, would almost certainly eclipse the total previous set price.




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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    8th-9th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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