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    Description

    1870 Type Two Twenty, PR65 Ultra Cameo
    Only 35 Examples Struck, CAC Approved
    5-6 Survivors Confirmed in Collectors' Hands

    1870 $20 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. The 1870 proof Liberty double eagle had an impressively low mintage of 35 pieces, a minuscule production total in absolute terms, but not unusually small in the context of the Type Two series. Distribution seems to have been remarkably low and some of the coins may have been melted as unsold after the close of the year. PCGS CoinFacts estimates that 8-12 pieces are extant today; however, when one subtracts the number of institutionally held examples of this date, the actual number available to private collectors appears to number only five or six specimens. This is an unusually low number of survivors for proof gold, indicating several pieces were most likely dropped into circulation because of their high face value when the original owners, or their heirs, encountered hard economic times. The most complete roster we have been able to assemble accounts for nine examples with a few earlier citations that may, or may not, represent the coins in the main roster (see below).

    Roster of 1870 Proof Liberty Double Eagles
    1.
    PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC. Richard Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1899), lot 183; John M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 924; Ed Trompeter Collection; Orlando Sale (Stack's, 1/2007), lot 1410, which realized $368,000; Tacasyl Collection (Bonhams, 9/2013), lot 1022, realized $503,100.
    2.
    PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. Probably David S. Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907), lot 330, which brought $170 as part of a complete gold proof set; Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1262; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; H.R. Lee Collection (Stack's, 10/1947), lot 1714; 49th Sale (New Netherlands, 6/1957), lot 119; Gaston DiBello Collection (Stack's, 5/1970), lot 1238; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bass Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1801; ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2004), lot 7686; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2011), lot 5493, realized $345,000. The present coin.
    3.
    PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS Secure. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2014), lot 5565; Chicago ANA (Stack's Bowers, 8/2014), lot 13260.
    4.
    PR64 Cameo NGC. CAC. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5281, which realized $184,000.
    5.
    PR64 Deep Cameo, per Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth. National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
    6.
    PR64 Deep Cameo. Smithsonian duplicate.
    7.
    PR61 PCGS. Samuel Wolfson (Stack's, 10/1962), lot 896; Spring Sale (Stack's, 4/1978), lot 913; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/1995), lot 372.
    8.
    Proof. Brock (a.k.a. John Colvin Randall); J.P. Morgan; American Numismatic Society.
    9.
    Brilliant Proof. Heman Ely, probably directly from the Mint; W. Elliot Woodward; T. Harrison Garrett in late 1883; Robert Garrett; John Work Garrett; Johns Hopkins University; Garrett Collection (Stack's, 3/1976), lot 434, part of an original 1870 gold proof set.

    Additional Appearance:
    A.
    Proof. George Seavey, part of a complete proof set purchased directly from the Mint; Lorin G. Parmelee, purchased Seavey's entire collection in 1873; Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 1370; H.P. Smith, bidding as "Clay", probably just bought the coin in for Parmelee.
    B.
    Proof. Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H. &H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 420, part of a complete gold proof set.
    C.
    Proof. Thomas Cleneay Collection (S.H. &H. Chapman, 12/1890), lot 421, part of a complete gold proof set.
    D.
    Proof. William B. Wetmore (S.H. & H. Chapman, 6/1906), lot 154, part of a complete gold proof set; Virgil Brand.
    E.
    Brilliant Proof. Waldo Newcomer; F.C.C. Boyd; World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery,1/1946), lot 873; "Memorable"/J.F. Bell Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 693; Adolph Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 1808. There is no known illustration of this specimen.


    One curious attribute common to all proof 1870 twenties is mentioned in the 2007 Orlando Sale by Stack's. A complex lintmark is seen through the letters IBE on Liberty's coronet; apparently this was impressed into the master hub.

    The rarity and importance of Type Two twenties as proofs are difficult to overstate. When one compares Type Two to Type Three proofs, there are approximately eight times as many Type Three proof twenties available. Of course, there are many more dates available in the Type Three series, but the mintages of Type Twos are uniformly low, ranging from a low of 25 proofs to a high of 50.

    This glittering, deeply mirrored proof displays heavy mint frost over the devices, giving the coin a stark cameo contrast on both sides. The design elements exhibit razor-sharp definition throughout and no mentionable distractions are evident on the pristine orange-gold surfaces. Unbelievable quality in a rare early date in the Liberty double eagle series.
    From An Important New York Collection. (Registry values: P6) (PCGS# 99085)

    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 [An Important New York Collection ]

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