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    1864 Liberty Eagle, PR63 Ultra Cameo
    Rare Proof Gold Issue
    Ex: Eliasberg

    1864 $10 PR63★ Ultra Cameo NGC. JD-1, High R.6. The Philadelphia Mint struck 50 proof Liberty eagles in 1864, a fairly generous production total in the context of the series. All the coins were delivered on February 11. Unfortunately, the financial stresses of the Civil war caused the government to suspend specie payments in 1861, meaning the government would not accept its own paper money at par in exchange for precious medal coinage. Gold proofs could only be purchased from the Mint at a steep premium in greenbacks. Another option was to pay for the proofs in gold, but wartime hoarding caused all precious metal coinage to vanish from circulation almost immediately. Gold coins could only be obtained from banks and bullion brokers, who also charged steep premiums. As might be expected, the distractions of the war, and the added difficulties and expense incurred in ordering proofs, caused collector demand to decline drastically. It is doubtful that even half of the optimistic 1864 mintage of gold eagles was ever distributed. John Dannreuther estimates the surviving population at 14-16 examples in all grades.

    A single pair of dies was used to strike all the proofs. The date is placed far to the left and slants down dramatically on the obverse. There is a tiny artifact on the right side of the O in OF and thinning shows on the top of the second vertical stripe in the shield on the reverse. These diagnostics make it possible to distinguish proofs from deceptive prooflike business strikes. This was the only use of the obverse die, but the reverse had been used previously in 1863.

    The present coin can be traced back to lot 517 of the W.T. Mumford Sale (New York Coin & Stamp, 4/1896), where it was described as,"$10 1864 Very fine, sharp proof." The lot was purchased by prominent collector John M. Clapp. Clapp's collection was maintained by his son, John H. Clapp, after his death and the entire collection was eventually purchased by Baltimore collector Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in a blockbuster private transaction through Stack's. Eliasberg was the only man to ever compile a complete collection of U.S. federal coinage by date, mintmark, and major variety. He also retained his collection until his death, in 1976. His estate sold the U.S. gold portion of the collection at a memorable auction in 1982. This coin has not been publicly offered since.

    This spectacular Select specimen exhibits razor-sharp definition on all design elements and the frosty devices contrast profoundly with the deeply mirrored fields to create an intense cameo effect. The canary-yellow surfaces show a few minor hairlines in the fields and a short linear scratch, below TE in STATES. The exceptional quality and eye appeal are attested by the Star designation. Census: 1 in 63 Ultra Cameo (1 in 63 ), 10 finer (3/21).
    Ex: W.T. Mumford Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 4/1896), lot 517; John M. Clapp, John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 720; bidder #138; Stack's; the present consignor.
    From The Gibney Family Collection. (Registry values: P5)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28F2, PCGS# 98800)

    Weight: 16.72 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View all of [The Gibney Family Collection ]

    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 28
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 441

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    The pre-sale publicity was more than I imagined, and the actual catalog better than I had expected - and my expectations were high!
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    Jim Beasley, Tilden Coin Company,
    Allamonte Springs, FL
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