The double eagle denomination went proof-only at Philadelphia for the last time in 1887, when 121 specimens were struck, though it is a virtual certainty that not all of those coins actually were sold, in keeping with the broader Mint trends of overproduction of proofs and subsequent melting of the remainder. Garrett and Guth comment that "There are fewer than 30 of these coins known in private hands, with many of these being impaired." It is a fitting finale to the sequence of seven highly elusive Philadelphia twenties beginning in 1881.
Impressive contrast between sharply struck, amply frosted devices and gloriously reflective fields with a faint reddish-tint and "orange-peel" texture is only the beginning of this specimen's eye appeal. Its all-around preservation is excellent with only a handful of light hairlines to act as grade-definers and pedigree markers. (The plastic over the upper part of the reverse shield has a scuff, but this does not affect the coin in any way.) Even if this coin bore another date, it would be a truly noteworthy piece of large-size classic gold; as an 1887 twenty, its stature is immense.