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SERIES: Liberty Head $20 1849-1907
LEVEL: Year, MintMark, & Major Variety

1886 $20, CA (Proof)

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PCGS PR65+CA
PCGS #:
89102
Diameter:
34.00 millimeters
Designer:
James Barton Longacre
Weight:
33.40 grams
Edge:
Reeded
Mintage:
106
Metal Content:
90% Gold, 10% Copper
Auction Record:
$92,000 • NGC PR64 • 1-5-2011 • Heritage
64
81,000
2
64
64+
89,500
64+
65
145,000
65
65+
150,000
1
65+
66
200,000
66
Condition Census (Explain) Show more rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 PR65CAM estimated grade  
2 PR64CAM PCGS grade  
2 PR64CAM PCGS grade  
2 PR64CAM estimated grade  
2 PR64CAM estimated grade  
Condition Census (Explain) Show fewer rows
Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 PR65CAM estimated grade  
2 PR64CAM PCGS grade  
2 PR64CAM PCGS grade  
2 PR64CAM estimated grade  
2 PR64CAM estimated grade  
2 PR64CAM estimated grade  
2 PR64CAM estimated grade  
8 PR63CAM estimated grade  
8 PR63CAM estimated grade  
8 PR63CAM estimated grade  
P. Scott Rubin: The 1886 Double Eagle holds a unique place among the Liberty Head Double Eagles because it is the only year that a single Mint issued the denomination. To add to its desirability, only 1,000 circulation strikes for the year were manufactured. The Proof coinage of 1886 Double Eagles was limited to only 106 struck of which approximately twenty specimens are known today.

It seems possible that because of the low mintage of circulation strikes of 1886 Double Eagles that more Proof strikes were ordered than ever before, making this the first time the mintage of Proof Double Eagles reached three digits. It should also be noted that up to this date there were virtually no collectors trying to complete the denomination by date and mintmark.

The auction records of which I am aware show that from the first sale of an 1886 Double Eagle at auction in 1890 until 1940 there were only eight appearances of the 1886 Proof Double Eagle. In seven of these sales they were sold as either a single lot, complete Gold Proof Set (5) or all the Gold Proof coins of 1886 were sold separately in the sale(2). In one case, the only coin missing from a Gold Proof Set was the Half Eagle, this was because the collector, William Woodin, specialized in the denomination and pulled it from the set. This seems to support the belief that Double Eagles were not actively collected until as late as the 1940’s.

I can find no instance of an 1886 Proof Double Eagle being sold at auction from 1924 until and including 1940, however during the rest of the decade fourteen auction sales took place which included a example of the 1886 Proof Double Eagle -- to date this is the most sales in any decade. Since the 1980’s an average of one 1886 Proof Double Eagle appears at auction per year.