Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 78

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Lot 1867

1869. PCGS graded Proof 64 Deep Cameo. A lovely golden near gem proof. Very rare date. Only 25 pieces struck. We are pleased to offer this exquisite Proof 64 1869 $20 gold whose beauty instigates nods of appreciation within the collecting community. For the truth is, the cameo contrast is very strong, satiny smooth, much more so than one usually finds with coins struck in the 1860s. Deep Cameo is too limiting a term to capture the true performance of this coin's rich beauty and pageantry. That is our opinion. To say that the devices are merely "richly frosted" gets nearer the point; what's more the finish is set against glittering, smooth mirror fields that turn very "deep," as they say, when the coin is held at an acute angle in the light. The brilliant yellow gold shade along with an appreciable absence of marks or hairlines puts it near the forefront of the few Proofs remaining in collections.

Proof Double Eagle issuance at the Philadelphia Mint in 1869 was the same as in 1868: only 25 were sold. Perhaps half as many remain. That being said, this is one of the most beautiful specimens of a Proof 1869 Double Eagle to come along in a long while, something we feel privileged to auction and obliged to emphasize and call your attention to. Its sale will be watched keenly by specialists in the double eagle series. Pop 1; 1 finer in 64+, and only 2 examples graded as Deep Cameo by PCGS. (PCGS # 99084) .

Proof Diagnostics for 1869: In date 1 is repunched at upper left serif and touches bust. Traces of die polish in upper bun; traces of extra outlines on first four stars. Minute die rust marks on and above earlobe. Reverse: No repunching on stars or TRUST. Heavy letters, plain extra outlines on TWE, traces of extra outlines on most other letters except ICA; wing touches E(D). Areas of die polish at both fleurs de lys, scroll below arrows. Middle arrowshaft missing except for two tiny fragments. Wing feathers above arrows thin and well apart; die polish in adjacent area of scroll. Cluster of minute rust marks on base of scroll nearest rightmost feather.

Gold Panic of 1869. A famous gold market "corner" took place on Wall Street on a Friday in the autumn of 1869. Two cunning speculators, Gould and Fisk, parleyed their "position" in gold into a near corner. They would have succeeded, too, had President Grant failed to instruct his Treasury Secretary to release some of the government's gold into the market to stem the buying frenzy. Prices in the metals markets, which had gone to a premium of 62% over par during the heat of the action, plummeted. And it took many months for international trade to return to normal afterward. The Gould-Fisk manipulation would go down in the history books under the name of Black Friday.

(Students of 19th century American history often bump into a curious anomoly in regards to the pricing of gold. Gold wasnt priced in "dollars" back then as it is now. Instead, it was the dollars that were priced in terms of gold. More to the point, it was the paper promissory "dollars" the Greenbacks, etc. that were priced as a percentage of specie or true gold "dollars" having a weight standard of 0.04837 oz. Fine to the "dollar." When you read newspaper accounts from the Civil War, 1861-65, and the pre Specie Resumption years, 1865-79, the prices are always given in percentage terms, such as 133% or just "133." "Gold traded at 133 today, up 2-1/2 from last Friday." What it means here -- again this was an era of unbacked paper currency overlaid on a rickety bimetallic standard -- isnt $133 an ounce. Instead it is $133 in currency equals $100 in gold coin and vice versa. At the peak of the panic of 1869, gold traded at 162. To acquire $100 in gold coin at a bank, someone had to tender $162 in paper money for the transaction to take place, a 62% premium over par.).
Estimated Value $90,000 - 110,000.

Realized $141,000

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