Remarkable 1860 Double Eagle, PR64 Cameo
1860 $20 PR64 Cameo NGC. The Breen Proof Encyclopedia
records something north of 30 complete gold proof sets minted for
1860, although the Mint during this period would also provide
individual denominations upon request. The net production of the
1860 double eagle is reported as 59 proofs. Notwithstanding that
amount, the current numismatic thinking -- espoused by Akers,
Breen, Garrett and Guth -- is that 10 or fewer identifiable proof
specimens survive today in all grades. As Garrett and Guth put it,
"In 1860, $20 was a hefty sum of money, and only a few well-heeled
collectors could have saved an example."
Likely Only Seven Pieces Available Publicly
This is the kind of coin that makes history-minded numismatists (and there are many of them) marvel, to think of all the hardships and economic challenges this coin's owners must have endured for this piece to survive to the present in such pristine condition. A short list of those events would, of course, start with the Civil War hostilities that broke out the following year after this piece was minted, in 1861. But many catastrophes would follow, including Reconstruction, the Panic of 1893, the Panic of 1907, two World Wars, the Great Depression, innumerable recessions and stock market booms and busts, any one of which might have been the cause for attrition of a proof double eagle, whether for profit or mere survival.
As a further gauge of specimens existing today, the combined NGC and PCGS population data include 12 submissions (up considerably from the eight in the Garrett-Guth first edition, and leading us to believe that many of those new pieces are duplications). NGC enumerates one in PR64; five in PR64 Cameo; and one in PR65 Cameo, while PCGS shows one PR64; one PR63 Cameo; and two PR64 Cameo (3/11). It bears repeating, however, that we think those figures are inflated, due both to resubmissions and crossovers from one service to another.
The present coin, formerly housed in a PR63 Cameo PCGS holder, displays rich, mellow orange-gold coloration throughout, with splendid eye appeal abundant throughout. With the remarkable popularity and resultant price increases of proof gold (and gold in general) in recent years, we cannot help but believe that this piece may result in a standout performance when it crosses the auction block. For pedigree purposes we mention a curling lintmark between star 1 and the forward bust truncation; a slightly curved, short mark near the rim between stars 9 and 10; and a hair-thin, straight contact mark in the reverse field below the I in UNITED. All of the above are mere quibbles compared to the remarkable aesthetic appeal.
Based on our provenance research presented below, we believe that there may be 10 specimens surviving -- although some duplication may be present in the lists below, and three of the survivors are nonetheless ensconced in museum collections, presumably off the market forever.
--PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS. Wolfson; Stack's (10/1962), lot 872; ANA Signature (Heritage, 4/2006), lot 2294, $201,250.
--PR64 Cameo NGC. Ed Trompeter Collection (Superior, 3/1992); Heritage (2/2000), lot 6883, $71,300; Heritage (8/2004), lot 7683, PR64 Cameo PCGS, $132,250; 2006 ANA (Bowers and Merena, 8/2006), lot 4397, PR64 Cameo NGC, $189,750.
--PR64 NGC. CAC. Henry Miller Collection (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5276, $230,000.
--PR64 Cameo NGC. Heritage (9/2004), lot 7983, PR63 Cameo PCGS, $94,875. The present specimen.
--PR64. Father Flanagan (Superior, 5/1990), lot 5737, $148,500.
--PR63 PCGS. Heritage (4/1999), lot 6259, $54,625.
--Choice Brilliant Proof. W. Foster Ely; W. Elliot Woodward (9/5/1883); Garrett Collection, Part II (Bowers and Ruddy, 3/1980), lot 789.
--Proof. B. Max Mehl (12/1930), lot 614; Alto Collection (Stack's, 12/1970), lot 418; Harry W. Bass, Jr. Core Collection, ANA.
--PR63 Deep Cameo. Smithsonian Institution.
--Proof. American Numismatic Society.
From The Slotkin Family Trust Collection.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 26DB, PCGS# 89072)
View all of [The Slotkin Family Trust Collection ]
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