The 1884 is the rarest of the three proof-only Liberty Head Double Eagles struck in the 1880s. Taking into consideration the total number known in all grades, it is the rarest Liberty Head Twenty regularly issued of this design, and among all varieties of the Liberty Head type it trails only the 1861 Paquet reverse.
Only 71 examples were struck and the survival rate is somewhat lower than for other proof Double Eagles of this era. Walter Breen estimated that "16 to 20" were known, but based on the number of auction appearances for this date in the past ten years, we believe a more reasonable estimate is 12 to 15 pieces. It should be remembered that two or three of these are impounded in museums and another one or two are impaired, which leaves an extremely limited number of pieces available to the serious collector.
A peculiar diagnostic of the 1884 is an area of granularity which runs from the inside of the ear down past the outside of the hair curls to above the designer's initials. This is seen on all proof 1884 Double Eagles, and it has no effect on the value of the coin. A few small contact marks are scattered over each side, these accounting for the less-than-Gem grade designation.