Prior to this year, mintage figures for Proof gold dollars was tiny. Beginning in 1882, production climbed as collecting (and speculating in) Proofs of this denomination became popular. 1881 is sort of a "final year" for low mintages with just 87 pieces struck; it is likely that around half of these are known. What I like about this date is that is sells for just a small premium above the late 1880's dates but it is decidedly scarcer, especially in Gem. This example is as close to being a PR66 as you could imagine and I feel that the only thing that kept NGC from grading it as such is the presence of a few tiny lines in the left obverse field. That said, I have seen inferior coins graded PR66 by both services and I have seen few Proofs of this era with the stunning black and white contrast that this piece displays. Both sides have extremely deep mirrors that display some light natural color that gives them further overall eye appeal. This is the only PR65+ Ultra Cameo of this date currently graded by NGC with only five finer for the date with the UC designation. It is my belief that Gem Proof gold dollars such as this are very good values right now, especially when one considers what larger denomination Proof gold in this grade costs.