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    1864 Liberty Twenty, PR64+ Cameo
    Classic Proof Gold Rarity
    Ex: Atwater/Carter/Friend

    1864 $20 PR64+ Cameo PCGS Secure. CAC. Ex: Friend. The 1864 proof Liberty double eagle claims a mintage of just 50 pieces, and it seems likely that many of those coins went unsold and were melted after the end of the year. Experts estimate the surviving population at 12-15 examples in all grades and our most recent roster lists only 13 confirmed examples, three of those in institutional collections. The coin offered here is part of a significant gathering of 1864 proof coins assembled by distinguished collector Dale Friend, including all six proof gold issues of that year, offered in separate lots in this sale.

    We believe this coin first appeared as part of a complete gold proof set in lot 324 of the David S. Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907). Wilson, a prominent collector from Pittsburgh, had an unbroken run of gold proof sets from 1860-1905, and he may well have purchased this set directly from the Mint. The set was purchased by Henry Chapman at the sale, but he was probably acting as agent for William Cutler Atwater. When Fort Worth coin dealer B. Max Mehl sold Atwater's fantastic collection (which included both a Class I and a Class III 1804 dollar), he noted, "Practically all of the gold proofs in this great Collection are from proof sets, a goodly number of which were secured at the Wilson Sale in 1907." Mehl chose to split up the proof sets, offering the coins as separate lots throughout the catalog. Lot 1256 was the double eagle: "1864 Perfect brilliant proof. Another gem coin of extreme rarity. Record $430." Although $430 was a strong price in 1946, it pales to insignificance beside the record $359,375 realized by the PR65 Deep Cameo NGC specimen in lot 5278 of the FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2011), showing how far collecting proof gold has come in recent times.

    This coin next appeared in lot 600 of another Mehl auction, the Golden Jubilee Sale, in May of 1950. Many of the coins in that auction belonged to famous composer Jerome Kern. This proof double eagle was purchased by Amon Carter, Sr., a prominent businessman from Fort Worth who was one of Mehl's favorite customers in the later part of his career. The coin passed to his son, Amon Carter, Jr., after his death, and remained in the Carter Family Collection until that famous gathering was sold by Stack's in a blockbuster auction in January of 1984. We believe this piece has not been publicly offered since that time.

    The present coin is a Plus-graded Choice specimen, with sharply detailed frosty design elements that seem to float on the liquid mirrored fields, creating intense cameo contrast. The vivid orange-gold surfaces are well-preserved and show the slight orange-peel texture seen on many high-quality 19th century proofs. Eye appeal is terrific. This coin is the single-finest certified example at PCGS with the Cameo designation, by virtue of its Plus grade. Population: 5 in 64 (1 in 64+) Cameo, 0 finer. CAC: 2 in 64, 0 finer (11/16).
    Ex: Possibly David S. Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), lot 324, part of a complete six-piece gold proof set; Henry Chapman; William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1256; Golden Jubilee Sale (Mehl, 5/1950), lot 600; Amon Carter, Sr.; Amon Carter, Jr.; Amon Carter Family Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 869; Dale Friend.
    From The Dale Friend Collection of 1864 Proof Coinage.(Registry values: P7) (NGC ID# 26DF, PCGS# 89076)

    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 Dale Friend Collection of 1864 Proof Coinage ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    4th-9th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,673

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

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