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    1886 Double Eagle, An Unc Details Example
    A Low-Mintage Issue and Prime Rarity in All Grades

    1886 $20 -- Tooled -- PCGS Genuine Secure. Unc Details. The 1886 double eagle is very popular because this year the denomination was produced only in the Philadelphia Mint. As might be expected from it minuscule mintage of 1,000 circulation strikes it is a prime rarity in any grade.

    Estimates vary on the number of examples extant. David Akers in his 1982 United States Gold Coins, Volume VI estimated only 15 to 18 business strikes to exist. Walter Breen wrote in his 1988 Encyclopedia that "possibly 8-10 survive." David Bowers, in his 2004 Guide Book of Double Eagle Coins puts the survival estimate at 28 to 45 pieces. And Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth write in their 2006 Encyclopedia of Gold Coins that "fewer than 40 are thought to exist today."

    The PCGS website estimates that 40 to 60 1886 double eagles are known in all levels of preservation. That service has certified 25 examples, three of which are in Mint State, with MS63 being the single finest. NGC has seen 24 specimens, two of which are Uncirculated, the finest MS65. The present Unc Details offering is of course not listed in the certified population reports, but one can at least derive a sense where it might theoretically fit within the grading continuum.

    Yellow-gold surfaces display partially prooflike fields that yield modest, pleasing contrast with the devices. All design elements are sharply struck, including boldness in Liberty's hair strands, the star centers on both sides, and the eagle's plumage. A few minute contact marks are inconsequential. A milling mark between stars 4 and 5 will help identify the coin. Light tooling in the left obverse field accounts for the PCGS disclaimer. But we advise prospective bidders not to be intimidated, because this is still a great-looking coin. The Liberty Head double eagle specialist or a collector of gold coinage in general cannot help but to be taken with this amazing specimen. It is sure to end up as the centerpiece of an advanced collection.
    From The Douglas Martin Collection.(Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26BR, PCGS# 9006)

    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 Douglas Martin Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2014
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,148

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
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