Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Lot 1295

1887 $20 Liberty. PCGS graded Proof 65 Deep Cameo. Candidate for Finest Known!. Well struck with beautiful glittering orange-peel surfaces and deeply frosted surfaces. A brilliant deep yellow golden gem with immaculate spot-free surfaces. Only 121 coins minted for this Proof-only issue.

Among the rarest Type 3 Proofs ever released to collectors, this design was modified from the 1866-1876 double eagles by the then-aging (and soon to expire), Chief Engraver William Barber. (Barber would be replaced in the position by his son, Charles E. Barber in 1879.)

The Liberty head on the Type 3 is more upright and placed more squarely in the center of the design. Barber then adjusted the reverse by including the denomination in its entirety TWENTY DOLLARS along with many other subtle changes to the central motifs. A marvelous improvement, many would say, and splendidly displayed for all to admire in this exceptional Deep Cameo specimen graded by Professional Coin Grading Service.

The coin presently offered comes at the end of a run of extraordinary rare Proof-only or virtually Proof-only P-mint twenties struck in the decade of the 1880s. There were 121 Proof double eagles made in 1887. None struck for use in circulation. In all grades, this Proof-only date is considered a rarity. In top grades, above the usual hairlined, nicked Proof 63 quality, for instance, its fame is locked rigidly for all time. The present specimen is the only piece certified this high in Deep Cameo at PCGS. For that matter, the only PCGS-graded Gem Deep Cameo.

Offered two years ago in a sale by Heritage Auctions, it displays striking frosted contrast that is an infinite improvement over later Proofs in the series where the mint decided to switch to a more all-brilliant look. The contrast here is showy to optimal effect against the deep mirror, almost "black with depth" reflective field on both sides. Liberty's hair, of golden frosted hue, her eyes, in aspect, wide open and looking out upon a fresh new world, in color, the coin is vibrant and glowing.

All objective evidence points to it being very conservatively graded. There are two or three small identifying features, but since this is the finest certified by PCGS, and has the PCGS serial number 10165413 on the label, this may serve entirely for purposes of tracing the coin's provenance in the future. A marvel of coin preservation, definitely a "find" for any discriminating buyer to obtain, and a coin whose pleasing overall aspect is one that will draw attention from other collectors. Upon first viewing it, a collector will sigh as if owning it in his dreams could be the only hope. In other words, unimpeachable quality, virtually unmatched among other Deep Cameo Proofs in the twenty-dollar gold series.

According to the Heritage cataloger: "Depicted in Proof Gold Coinage of the United States by Robert J. Loewinger, M.D., on page 72 to illustrate the Longacre-Barber design Liberty Head, Motto on Reverse double eagle coinage of 1877 to 1907 (previously NGC PR65 Ultra Cameo). From The Dr. Robert J. Loewinger Collection." Pop 1 as the finest graded at PCGS. (PCGS # 99103) .
Estimated Value $110,000 - 130,000.

Realized $161,000

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