US Coins

Market Analysis: Light wear creates opportunity for Proof double eagle collector

In lightly circulated grades, a typical 1895 Coronet gold $20 double eagle sells for a little more than bullion value. What makes this Professional Coin Grading Service Proof 50 example special is that it was one of 51 Proof double eagles struck that year, many melted.

John Dannreuther estimates just 16 to 20 known Proof examples in his recent book United States Proof Coins, Volume IV, and the PCGS population of 23 coins surely includes multiple resubmissions of one or more of them. 

Twenty dollars represented a substantial amount of money in 1895 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, some examples entered circulation. PCGS records four Proof 1895 double eagles in lightly circulated condition. 

Heritage writes, “The date position and deeply mirrored fields are correct for the proof dies, and the slight high-point friction on the devices and in the open areas of the fields leaves all details sharp.” A few contact marks on both sides provide further evidence of its time in circulation.

The coin sold for $9,000, only a modest improvement on the $8,050 that it brought in a 2008 auction more than a decade ago, but providing an entry-level opportunity for a collector to buy a Proof double eagle.

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