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    1891 Liberty Twenty, PR65 Ultra Cameo
    Rare in Any Format, Only 52 Proofs Struck

    1891 $20 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. A meager mintage of just 52 proof Liberty double eagles was accomplished in 1891, to accompany a remarkably small business-strike emission of 1,390 coins. Few business-strikes have survived in collectible grades, increasing the demand for proofs from date collectors. Fortunately, the proof issue enjoys a relatively high survival rate, with perhaps 20-25 examples extant in all grades, including two specimens in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and one in the holdings of the American Numismatic Society.

    Only a few numismatists collected double eagles systematically before the late 1930s and proofs commanded only small premiums when offered at auction in the early years of the 20th century. Some 1891 proof double eagles were undoubtedly spent for face value when their owners fell on hard times in the early days, as several examples exist today in impaired condition.

    An early auction appearance of the 1891 proof double eagle was in lot 760 of the Dr. Charles W. Green Collection (B.Max Mehl, 4/1949):

    "1891 Perfect Brilliant proof; wire edge; sharp. Unusually high borders. Very rare in this beautiful condition. Only 1,442 specimens were struck in all and of that number only 52 were struck as proofs. The Atwater specimen brought $310.00."

    The lot realized $300, just about living up to Mehl's expectations. Today the record price for the 1891 proof is a staggering $655,200 brought by the extraordinary PR68 ★ Ultra Cameo NGC example in the Tacasyl Collection (Bonhams, 9/2013).

    The present coin is a spectacular Gem, with razor-sharp definition on all design elements and deeply mirrored fields. The devices exhibit a rich coat of mint frost that contrasts starkly with the reflective fields to create a stunning black-on-gold cameo effect. The yellow-gold surfaces show only minor signs of contact and eye appeal is tremendous. Census: 3 in 65 Ultra Cameo (1 in 65 Ultra Cameo), 5 finer (3/15).(Registry values: P3)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26EC, PCGS# 99107)

    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
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 929

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
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