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    1900 Double Eagle, PR66+
    124 Pieces Struck, About 50 Survive
    Finest Certified Ultra Cameo Example

    1900 $20 PR66+ Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. A fairly generous mintage of 124 proof Liberty double eagles was accomplished in 1900, a large production total in the context of the series, but a small supply in absolute terms. Most of the coins were issued in gold proof sets, but a few individual specimens were produced, as well. The survival rate was slightly below average for gold proofs of this era, as somewhat less than 50% of the mintage can be accounted for today, and a number of coins are known in impaired condition. Still, the number of extant specimens is larger than for most years. Garrett and Guth, writing in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins, 1795-1933 (2006), had the following comments about the issue:

    "Although the number of coins known for this date is relatively high for a Proof Liberty Head double eagle, many are impaired or otherwise damaged. There are probably around 50 examples known in all levels of preservation."

    The gold proof sets began appearing at auction at an early date, but proof gold brought only small premiums in the early 20th century. The complete 1900 gold proof set in lot 360 of the David S. Wilson Collection (S.H. Chapman, 3/1907) realized only $50, to John Zug. This was certainly not a tremendous return on the $37.50 face value of the coins, plus auction fees, but it was a better result than many others in that era. Some early collectors, or their descendants, simply spent their proof gold coins for face value during hard financial times. Most gold proof sets of this era were broken up long ago, but a few survived intact until recent times. Of course, all U.S. gold became much more valuable after the Gold Recall of 1933, and proof double eagles are among the hottest segments of the market today. The last time the present coin appeared at auction, in lot 1761 of the Mid-Winter ANA Convention Auction (Heritage, 3/2008), it realized a record price of $143,750.

    The coin remains an extremely impressive representative that is unmatched for overall quality at either of the major grading services. As of August 2017, this is the sole example to be certified as PR66+ Ultra Cameo by NGC, with none finer. PCGS has graded no 1900 Deep Cameo proof finer than PR65. The two services combine to certify three PR67 Cameo examples (one at PCGS, two at NGC), but they are not comparable in contrast or mirroring to this stunning coin.

    In truth, it would be difficult to overstate the eye appeal of this magnificent Plus-graded Premium Gem. At arm's length it presents a stark gold-on-black appearance, as the intensely reflective fields provide an impressive backdrop for the fully frosted devices. Closer inspection under low magnification reveals that all of the design elements have been reproduced with razor-sharp precision, including the finer details of Liberty's hair and the sometimes incomplete lower details of the eagle. Also noteworthy is the cleanliness of the impeccably preserved surfaces, both on the obverse and the reverse.

    This is truly a remarkable coin that seems virtually unimprovable, and would enhance the overall standing of any advanced collection or Registry Set of proof gold coinage. Census: 1 in 66 Ultra Cameo (this coin in 66+), 0 finer. CAC: 1 in 66 (this coin), 0 finer (8/17).
    Ex: Phoenix Mid-Winter ANA Signature (Heritage, 3/2008), lot 1761, realized $143,750.(Registry values: P1) (NGC ID# 26EM, PCGS# 99116)

    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
    November, 2017
    2nd-4th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 28
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,427

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