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    1890 Liberty Double Eagle, PR67
    Finest-Certified Deep Cameo at PCGS
    Possibly 14-18 Examples Extant

    1890 $20 PR67 Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC. JD-1. Increased collector demand for proofs resulted in a mintage of 55 proof Liberty double eagles in 1890, significantly more than the 41-piece production of the previous year. The coins were delivered quarterly, in batches of 20, 10, 5, and 20 specimens, indicating continued demand throughout the year. It is possible that some of the 20 coins in the final delivery went unsold, however, and were melted or released into circulation after the end of the year. If all the coins were distributed, the issue suffered from an unusually low survival rate, as the 1890 proof double eagle is rarely seen in today's market. John Dannreuther estimates the surviving population at 14-18 examples in all grades. Two of those coins are sequestered in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, and a third is included in the collection of the American Numismatic Society. Several examples are known in slightly impaired condition, suggesting they may have been spent by their owners during hard economic times, like the Panic of 1893.

    Only one pair of dies were used to strike the proofs in 1890, designated as the JD-1 die pair in John Dannreuther's excellent series reference United States Proof Coins, Vol. IV Gold. The date is positioned right of center and slants up slightly from left to right. The left base of 1 in the date is over a space between dentils (near the left edge). On the reverse, the heavy ray below E in STATES is incomplete. Quality control was excellent for proofs of this era and many survivors have Cameo, or Deep Cameo surfaces.

    When collecting large denomination gold coins first became widely popular in this country, in the late 1930s, the rarity of the 1890 proof double eagle soon became apparent. An early auction appearance was in lot 2334 of the William Forrester Dunham Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1941):

    "1890 Perfect brilliant proof, struck in yellow gold. Extremely rare. Listed at $100.00. Recent record in my Hale Sale, $84.00. These proofs are now in great demand, and as these large collections come on the market at more rare intervals, the opportunity of the purchase of these coins is becoming as rare as are the coins. Please remember that these proofs in this Sale have not changed hands in about thirty-five years."

    Dunham purchased many of his proofs from the David S. Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), accounting for Mehl's 35-year reference. The lot realized $83, a fairly strong auction price at the time, if a little short of the Standard Catalogue value. There are no recent auction prices for a PR67 Deep Cameo PCGS example with CAC approval, but the PR67 Cameo NGC specimen in lot 540 of our February 2000 Long Beach Bullet Sale realized $92,000. This coin should realize substantially more.

    The present coin is the single-finest example of this proof gold rarity certified by PCGS (6/19). It was last publicly offered 16 years ago as part of a complete 10-piece 1890 proof set in the Goldberg's Benson Collection, Part III (the coins were offered in separate lots, so the set was split up after that time). It has only traded privately since then. Razor-sharp definition is evident on all design elements and the deeply mirrored fields contrast profoundly with the richly frosted devices to produce a stunning gold-on-black cameo effect when the coin is angled in the light. The vivid lemon-yellow surfaces are free of mentionable post-strike distractions, but we note a small lint mark in the field between star 13 and the lowest curl. On the reverse, two parallel die striations travel from the upper left ribbon end, across the shield, to the lower right ribbon end. The surfaces exhibit the orange-peel texture of the best 19th century proofs. Overall eye appeal is terrific and this coin is pictured on PCGS CoinFacts. We expect intense competition from proof gold specialists and Registry Set enthusiasts when this lot is called. Population: 1 in 67 Deep Cameo, 0 finer. CAC: 1 in 67, 0 finer (6/19).
    Ex: Benson Collection, Part III ( Ira and Larry Goldberg, 2/2003), lot 1847.
    From The Joan Zieg Steinbrenner Collection. (Registry values: P3)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26EB, PCGS# 99106)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View all of [The Joan Zieg Steinbrenner Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    14th-18th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,694

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    We also followed the bidding online yesterday here in Salt Lake for the other 3 coins - great fun. Prices realized met or exceeded our expectations.
    Thomas M.,
    Salt Lake City, UT
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