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    1872 Liberty Double Eagle, PR63 Deep Cameo
    Only 30 Examples Struck
    No More Than a Dozen Survive

    1872 $20 PR63 Deep Cameo PCGS. According to Mint records, only 30 proof Liberty double eagles were struck in 1872, all for inclusion in the proof sets. Unfortunately, the issue also has a low survival rate, and examples are very rare today in all grades. Samuel Hudson Chapman offered a remarkable run of gold proof sets from 1860 -1905 in his sale of the David S. Wilson Collection (Chapman, 3/1907). In an introduction to this run, Chapman reported:

    "These proof sets are exceedingly rare, and my estimate would be that there are not over five sets in existence of the years prior to 1890..."

    Collecting high-denomination gold coins was not popular in the 19th century, because the face value of each coin represented a significant amount of money to the average collector, and few could afford to tie up enough cash to compile an extensive date run of Liberty eagles or double eagles over a long period of time. In addition, the design of the coins was not viewed as particularly attractive, and the double eagle series (started in 1850) was still perceived as new and not numismatically interesting, as many modern coins are viewed today. Chapman's estimate of five surviving intact gold proof sets in 1907 may have been accurate, as collectors tended to buy the sets and dispense with the large-denomination coins, while keeping the smaller denominations for their collections. There was little profit to be made in auctioning the tens and twenties, as evidenced by the proof 1872 Liberty double eagle sold in lot 1380 of the Lorin G. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), which realized only $21. Many proof double eagles were undoubtedly just spent for face value or melted down for bullion value over the years.

    Of course, some individual double eagles did survive after the proof sets were broken up, and these coins were not included in Chapman's estimate. Experts are in close agreement on the number of surviving 1872 proof twenties today, with David Akers estimating 10-11 pieces still extant, PCGS CoinFacts postulating 8-12 examples, and Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth accounting for 10-12 specimens all told, including two in institutional collections. PCGS and NGC have combined to certify 12 examples in all grades, including an unknown number of resubmissions and crossovers (11/14).

    The present coin is an impressive Select specimen, with well-detailed frosty design elements that contrast profoundly with the deeply mirrored fields. The lemon-yellow surfaces show a few highlights of green and only minor signs of contact are evident. This coin is a most attractive representative of this very rare proof gold issue. Population: 2 in 63, 2 finer (11/14).(Registry values: P6)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26DR, PCGS# 99087)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    7th-12th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,195

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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