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    1872 Double Eagle, PR64
    Exceedingly Rare Proof Issue

    1872 $20 PR64 PCGS. CAC. Proof Liberty double eagles are among the rarest and most sought-after gold coins in American numismatics, and this is especially true for the issues from the 1860s and 1870s. Profoundly low mintages are amplified by even lower survival rates, making many of these issues prohibitively rare in any condition.

    The 1872 proof is an excellent representative of this; a paltry 30 coins were struck, all once part of complete gold proof sets. Virtually all of these sets have since been dispersed, and the individual double eagles trade hands only on a limit basis, drawing strong bidder attention when they appear at auction. The exact number known to survive is difficult to trace, though most estimates peg to count at only eight to 12 pieces, two of which are unattainably housed in the Smithsonian Institution and the American Numismatic Society Collection. The certified population reports suggest the existence of eight gradable examples in private hands (8/14), a total that seems in line with the overall survival estimates, though it is possible one or two of these are the result of resubmissions. The large value increases between succeeding grades makes them a favorite for upgrade attempts.

    The typical piece, when found, exhibits moderate to bold cameo contrast, and while some coins are cleaned or impaired, a few are known with well-preserved surfaces, though these are exceedingly rare. The coin here offered, however, is such an example, displaying undeniably original apricot-gold patina over frosty devices and deeply mirrored fields. Housed in an old green label holder, the coin is not designated as a Cameo, though the field-motif contrast is obvious. A few wispy hairlines in the fields (not from cleaning) preclude a Gem grade assessment, though these are undetectable to the unaided eye. A small alloy stain in the dentils below the W in TWENTY serves as a possible pedigree identifier.

    It is a rare occurrence when an example of this proof issue appears at auction, especially in Choice or finer condition. A numerically comparable piece, certified PR64 by NGC, but also featuring an Ultra Cameo designation, was offered in Heritage's January 2006 Signature Sale as lot 3578, and brought an impressive $103,500. This piece is equally well-preserved and, displaying attractive cameo contrast, should draw similar attention from the advanced gold specialist. Population: 1 in 64, 1 finer (8/14).
    From The La Jolla Lady's Collection.(Registry values: P6)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26DR, PCGS# 9087)

    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
    October, 2014
    8th-13th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,346

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

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    We also followed the bidding online yesterday here in Salt Lake for the other 3 coins - great fun. Prices realized met or exceeded our expectations.
    Thomas M.,
    Salt Lake City, UT
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