In the early years of the Civil War, Americans had more on their minds than numismatics. Nonetheless, there were a few visionary collectors who avidly pursued the newest Mint issues, including the various Proof coins issued each year. Proof gold coins could be purchased for a small premium over their face value, but because of the high intrinsic value of their metal content, sales were low. In the case of the 1862 Eagle, the mintage of Proof examples has been estimated at fifty pieces, yet only a dozen or so examples have been accounted for. This low survival rate suggests that not all of the Proof 1862 Eagles were sold by the mint and that the excess supply was melted. Alternatively, there could be additional examples hidden away in collections, but it is doubtful that the overall population will expand much more beyond its present level.
Most of the known Proof 1862 Eagles present a cameo contrast, sometimes to a strong degree. Most, if not all, of the non-Cameos listed in the PCGS Population Report were graded before PCGS began recognizing Cameo and Deep Cameo designations; this will be corrected as the pieces return for reexamination.
The current finest example of a Proof 1862 $10 appears to be the former Dr. Robert Loewinger example, not in a PCGS PR65DCAM holder. Not surprisingly, it holds the price record for this date in Proof -- $152,750.
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