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    1885 Twenty Dollar, AU55
    Only 751 Circulation Strikes Produced

    1885 $20 AU55 NGC. CAC. Any coin with a mintage of only 751 pieces is bound to catch the eye of collectors. Only two other double eagle issues have a lower output: The 1882 twenty with a mintage of 571 coins, and the 1861 Paquet, of which only two pieces are known. Low mintage and low availability make the 1885 a popular coin, one that is a highlight of any auction. For collectors the availability of proofs does not help, as only 78 proofs were minted and are even rarer than the business strikes. Naturally, with a mintage so low, all 1885 business strikes are first strikes and show reflective fields. This was problematic in the past, as it was uncertain whether coins were prooflike business strikes or banged-up proofs. Over the past 30-40 years clear diagnostics have become available to collectors of these ultra rarities. Business strikes show:

    --The date positioned further left than seen on proofs.
    --The 8 in the date positioned beneath the B in J.B.L. on the truncation of the neck.

    In the Fuljenz-Winter reference from 1999, the comment is made that the 1885 is "slightly more available than in the past few years." They note the appearance of a few more 1885 twenties between 1992 and 1994 and attribute those coins to a possible small hoard. Such a hoard would indeed be a windfall. Still, from the tiny mintage of 751 pieces, they estimate only 45-55 examples survive today in all grades. The largest distribution by grade is in AU condition. To date (11/10), 90 submission events have been recorded by both major certification services combined. Numerous resubmissions are included in the numbers certified, as there is a considerable economic incentive for an increase in grade, even if it is just two points.
    This example has the bright, reflective fields expected from business strikes, but lacks the depth of mirroring on a proof. Each side has rich reddish-gold color, and there are few marks that would aid in tracing the pedigree of this important coin. One is a bit of light grease staining in the area of the 188 of the date, and a milling mark at the top of Liberty's hair is another. The collector of Liberty double eagles has few opportunities to acquire this ultra rarity, especially in such high grade.
    From The Henry Miller Collection.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 26BM, PCGS# 9003)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    View all of [The Henry Miller Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    5th-9th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,368

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