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    Ultra Cameo Gem Proof 1896 Ten
    A Stunningly Contrasted Rarity

    1896 $10 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. Among many U.S. coinage series but especially within gold, a lesson new collectors must learn is that mintages alone do not tell the story of a coin's rarity. The most obvious demonstration of the principle comes with late-date Saint-Gaudens twenties, where survival is determined not by original mintages but by how many coins were sent outside U.S. jurisdiction before the gold recall and meltings of the 1930s. Similarly, albeit to a lesser extent, the survival of proof gold is a function of how many coins were sold, not the quantity originally struck.
    This quirk of survival affects both prominent and obscure issues, rendering some underrated. The 1896 ten dollar is among the "underrated;" due to its mintage, it is often lumped in with the proof eagles of 1898 and later, but it has far more in common with earlier 1890s proofs; Garrett and Guth note that the 1896, despite having a mintage of 78 pieces that is well above the production for the 1895 issue, is only slightly more common than its immediate predecessor.
    The present specimen, an Ultra Cameo Gem proof, has both solid technical credentials and excellent eye appeal. Only a handful of post-striking defects, which also serve as the coin's major pedigree markers, are visible to the unaided eye: on the obverse, a hairline appears just to the left of the bridge of Liberty's nose, while on the reverse, a couple of hairlines run into the left side of the eagle's neck. These do not threaten the coin's essential qualities as a Gem, and the contrast between sharply struck gold-frosted devices and deeply reflective "orange-peel" mirrors is marvelous. Census: 2 in 65 Ultra Cameo, 3 finer (11/11).(Registry values: P1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 28G3, PCGS# 98836)

    Weight: 16.72 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2012
    4th-8th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 887

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