1876 Double Eagle, PR64+ Deep Cameo
1876 $20 PR64+ Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC. Accurate mintage
records exist for most proof double eagles, such as the 45 proofs
struck in 1876. Less accurate is an estimate of the number of
survivors. For example, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth suggest that only
about 15 of those coins survive today. In their Encyclopedia of
U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933, the authors write:
Finest Certified at PCGS, Ex: Pittman
Only 45 Pieces Struck
"The 1876 double eagle is very rare in Proof, but the date is probably the most available issue of the type. The mintage number for the year is higher than for previous years. This may have been in anticipation of increased sales because of centennial celebrations. Many must have remained unsold, however, as there are only 15 or so coins known today. Most of the survivors grade no better than choice Proof."
Other estimates are similar. The PCGS Coin Facts website suggests that 18 to 20 proofs are known today, and the NGC Coin Explorer website states: "we believe that only about a dozen examples still exist today, although the number may be as high as 15 coins."
In addition to the rarity of the date in proof, type collectors must also consider how many proofs survive for the entire Type Two design that was issued from 1866 through 1876. That total population is almost certainly under 100 pieces, or about nine per issue.
We have made no attempt to compile a roster of proof 1876 double eagles. Such rosters rank among the most challenging numismatic pursuits. Plate matching photos from older catalogs is a nearly impossible task. However, this piece has a prominent lilac toning spot between star 13 and the border that identifies it as the John Jay Pittman coin. Pittman's collection was known for the high quality of its contents, which is borne out by the virtues of this coin. Both sides have deeply mirrored fields with rich yellow surfaces and outstanding contrast. The surfaces host a few faint hairlines and imperceptible contact marks. A stunning visual display accompanies the rarity of this piece. PCGS has certified three PR64 examples of the 1876 double eagle, one in PR64, another in PR64 Deep Cameo, and this coin in PR64+ Deep Cameo, with none finer (1/13).
Ex: Memorable Sale (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 697; John Jay Pittman; Pittman Collection, Part I (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 1153.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 26DV, PCGS# 99091)
Weight: 33.44 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
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