1884 $20 PCGS PR64 CAC

$450,000.00 USD

As an issue that needs no introduction among gold specialists, the 1884 was produced solely in specimen, or proof format. The official mintage is 71 coins, which is fewer than those of the proof-only 1883 and 1887 deliveries. The 1884 is the rarest issue of this trio, but just how rare has been a matter of debate within numismatic circles. For years, Walter Breen's estimate of 16 to 20 pieces extant was widely accepted as fact. However, Mike Fuljenz and Doug Winter offer a range of just 15-17 coins in the 2000 book Type Three Double Eagles 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis. David W. Akers believed only 13-15 pieces remain, and wrote that "as a date, the 1884 is the second rarest in the entire Liberty head double eagle series after the excessively rare 1861 Paquet." The CoinFacts.com website suggests that "an estimated 10 to 15 examples survive." Referencing current statistics, we note that the combined NGC and PCGS population data indicates a certified total of 16 pieces in all grades, which, undoubtedly, is inflated by resubmissions of the same coin.

As of (10/10), PCGS has certified a mere two specimens at the PR64 level, with just three finer examples, two PR65 Deep Cameo pieces and a single PR66 Cameo, yet again we must consider the possibility that some of the coins in the Census Report and Population Report were submitted--and subsequently listed--more than once. A more accurate understanding of this issue's rarity is better gleaned from a review of auction records, and we are aware of only seven 1884 double eagles in public sales over the past 10 years:

1. Ex: Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1891, where it realized $46,000. This coin, previously from the Garrett Collection, was certified PR63 by PCGS. It appeared again as lot 7590 in Heritage's January 2004 Long Beach Signature, where it realized $103,500.

2. Ex: Eagle Collection of Double Eagles (Heritage, 1/2002), lot 4149, where it realized $54,625.

3. Superior (8/2002), lot 2228, where it realized $51,750. Cataloged as "Brilliant Proof 63."

4. Ex: FUN Signature Sale Platinum Night--The North Shore Collection (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 3225, where it realized $149,500. An exquisite PR66 Cameo NGC specimen. Earlier in the Dallas Bank Collection (Stack's/Sotheby's, 10/2001) as lot 94, which realized $48,875.

5. Ex: Heritage (6/2004), lot 6376, which realized $126,500. The present specimen, sold 10/2008, which realized $125,000. Certified PR64 PCGS.

6. Ex: Richmond Collection, Part I (David Lawrence, 7/2004), lot 2330, which brought $115.000. Certified PR64 Cameo NGC.

7. Ex: 2009 Central States (Heritage, 4/2009), lot 2770, which realized $54,625. Certified PR53 NGC.

The present piece is #5 on this list. Although undesignated as Cameo by PCGS, the devices exhibit substantial frost, particularly on the eagle's wings and Liberty's hair. The frost is thick throughout the right half of the neck and near the ear, and minimal on the cheek and neck. This frost pattern is diagnostic of 1884 proofs. Another diagnostic for the issue is a diagonal die line to the left of the Y in LIBERTY, which is present on the current lot. Intricately struck, even on the high points of the hair to the right of the ear. Attractively toned in shades of deep red-gold with dashes of lemon patina. Minor planchet flaws near the nose, the forehead, the vertical shield lines, and the A in STATES provide pedigree identifiers. This very rare proof double eagle would be a standout within even the finest collection of Liberty double eagles.
From The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: P9)

Weight: 33.44 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper