1904 $20, CA PR (PCGS# 89120)

2013 August 8 - 10 US Coins Signature Auction - Rosemont #1188

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1904 $20 PR67 Cameo NGC. The 1904 Liberty double eagle is a common date in business-strike format, but proofs are rare in absolute terms, and high-grade Cameo proofs are extremely elusive. Heritage Auctions is pleased to offer the single finest certified example of this rare issue, with profound cameo contrast and impeccable surface quality. Mintage of proof Liberty double eagles was severely reduced in 1904, with a meager total of 98 pieces struck, compared to the 158 examples produced the previous year. The 1904 has a decent survival rate, but it is doubtful that more than 55 to 60 examples are extant in all grades and conditions. Because the Mint switched to a new finish for proof coins in 1902 few examples display the frosty devices of earlier years. As Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth wrote in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins, "Most of the examples seen also have very little, if any, cameo surfaces." Unfortunately, population data for all Type Three proof double eagles has been wildly distorted by resubmissions and crossovers. However, that data is still meaningful to support the comments of Garrett and Guth. NGC and PCGS have certified a total of 1,340 proof Type Three double eagles, including 838 dated 1877 to 1901, and 502 dated 1902 to 1907. Among the earlier years through 1901, nearly 64% (535 submissions) are designated with contrast, including 239 called Ultra Cameo or Deep Cameo. The latter group includes only 35% (178 submissions) with contrast, and only four coins are designated as Ultra Cameo. Unlike the typical 1904 proof, this coin exhibits richly frosted design elements and deeply mirrored fields that produce a startling black-on-gold cameo flash when the coin is tilted in the light. The design elements are sharply detailed in all areas except for a touch of softness on the eagle's talons. The well-preserved lemon-yellow surfaces are virtually pristine, with no mentionable distractions on either side. Eye appeal is incredible.
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