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    Delightful PR64 Cameo 1864 Twenty

    1864 $20 PR64 Cameo NGC. In 1858--only one year after the discontinuation of the large cent and half cent created the first (but certainly not the last) numismatic mania in America--the U.S. Mint began publicly offering wholesale proof sets to collectors. Mint records from those early years of public proof production are spotty at best; while some annual figures may be accurate, oftentimes any specimens that went unsold were reconsigned to the melting pot. The mintages of proof Type One double eagles--those produced from 1858 through 1866, without the motto IN GOD WE TRUST--are recorded in the Guide Book as ranging from 80 pieces for the 1859 (the 1858 mintage is unknown) down to 25 pieces for the 1865. Those mintage figures, which are in line with those in the Breen Proof Encyclopedia, are largely meaningless in terms of the surviving population, however, and the population data are not particularly helpful, either. Like so many rare coins where a one-point increment in grade can mean potentially huge price increases, the Type One double eagle certified populations are artificially swollen by multiple resubmissions, crossovers, and "crack-outs."
    For what they are worth, here are the present population data: NGC has graded a total of 15 proof 1864s, including two Cameo coins in PR63 and nine PR64 Cameos, and four Ultra Cameo pieces, two PR64s, one PR65 ★ , and one PR67 piece. This latter PR67 Ultra Cameo is the finest known at either service. PCGS has graded a total of five coins, all PR64s, including three graded PR64 Cameo, with none finer. So the number of submission events at both services for this issue totals 20 pieces. In 1977 the Breen Proof Encyclopedia, calling this the rarest proof gold denomination of 1864, enumerated nine or 10 different coins. More recently, the authors of the Garrett-Guth Gold Encyclopedia noted that, "Despite the fact that only 12 to 15 examples of the Proof 1864 double eagle are known, it is probably the most available year for the type in the Proof format." Given our estimates based on the available data it appears that those numbers might be a bit on the high side, but suffice it to say that the number of different coins certified is certainly not over the midteens, and possibly as low as 10 pieces.
    The proof 1864 double eagle has the date slanting downward slightly from left to right, with the 4 closer to the dentils than the 1. The largest space is between 86 and then between 18, with the 64 quite close together. The left serif of the 1 is slightly right of the center of a dentil, and the right base of the 4 is nearly to the right edge of a dentil. There are scattered die rust marks near the eye, the brow, and below LIBER. We also see on this piece a short, squiggly die crack at the top of Liberty's forehead, a crack that simulates a bulging vein. The reverse die for this issue was repolished and used again from the 1862-3 proof issues. The present PR64 Cameo specimen shows a bold strike over distraction-free yellow-gold surfaces, with considerable mint frost and good field-device contrast. All star centrils are boldly brought up on this piece, and there are no weak spots apparent in Liberty's highpoint hair. A small copper alloy spot on the reverse, to the right of the shield border, and a second less-noticeable dark area to the left side of the glory of rays, will serve as a future pedigree markers for this delightful Civil War-era piece. Census: 9 in 64 Cameo, 0 finer (11/06).(Registry values: P7)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26DF, PCGS# 89076)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    View Certification Details from NGC

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2007
    3rd-6th Wednesday-Saturday
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