1897 $20.00 NGC PR64 ULTRA CAM

One of 86 struck. There are an estimated thirty or so known Proofs for the date and this tends to be an issue that is not often seen with full deep cameo contrast. This piece has a stunning black and white appearance with nicely frosted devices offset by watery fields that are free of hairlines. Were it not for a few very small ticks in the obverse fields, this piece would be a Gem and it would be an $80,000-90,000 coin. There have been no PR64 DC or PR64 UC examples of the 1897 double eagle to sell at auction since the Goldberg 5/08: 4474 example (slabbed by PCGS) that realized $46,000 and which had very questionable orange-gold color on both sides. If you have been searching for a Proof Liberty Head double eagle in I believe is a very practical grade and price range, this might be exactly what you've been waiting for.

1892 $2.50 PCGS PR64 DCAM

105 Proofs were struck. The quality of Proof gold from the 1892-1896 era is just about unbeatable for its quality of appearance. The amount of contrast seen on many Proofs from this era is incredible and this example is a clear indication of this as it has completely frosted devices set against very deep, watery fields. What makes this coin so appealing is its remarkable natural deep orange-gold and coppery color which is present on both the obverse and reverse. The surfaces are bright and reflective with no hairlines of note; a tiny mark before Liberty's mouth appears to be mint-made and in the planchet. This is a scarce date even as a business strike and the survival rate for proofs is not as high as one might expect with maybe three dozen known. This piece would be perfect for the Proof collector working on a type set of Liberty Head issues as it has the appearance of a Superb Gem at around half the price.

1885 $1.00 NGC PR64 CAM

1105 Proofs struck. Mintages for Proof gold dollars shot up dramatically beginning in 1882 and by the mid-1880's, over 1,000 per year were being produced. That said, survivors from 1885 are not common with the number known estimated at about 150-200. What's great about coins like this is that they are attractive, choice and rare but they are well within the budget of many gold collectors. This specific example would grade at least a PR65 if not higher were it not for a tiny mint-made dimple in the middle of the left obverse field. Otherwise, the coin has a great appearance with very reflective surfaces that have almost no hairlines and strong contrast between the devices and the fields. While not quite a Deep Cameo, this piece has better than average contrast for the date. At this price level, you have to love this 1885 dollar and it would make a great coin for the collector who has always wanted to own a piece of Proof gold but whose budget doesn't allow for major five-figure expenditures.

1879 $5.00 NGC PR64+ CAM

Only 30 Proofs were struck. Given the fact that just eight auction records for Proofs have been noted since 2000, it likely that as few as ten or so are known to exist with only two or three of these being Gems. This superbly toned example has a reddish-orange obverse with some pale ice-blue splashes at the center; the reverse has really neat color with more even rich orange-gold shades framed by a concentric ring of pale blue. There is almost enough contrast to call this coin an Ultra Cameo and a Gem grade is removed solely by the presence of some light lines in the left obverse field; the reverse is superb. The last Gem Proof 1879 half eagle to sell was Goldberg 5/06: 4439 (graded PR65 CAM by PCGS) that sold for $60,375. Rare, important and absolutely beautiful!

1846 $2.50 NGC PR64 CAM CAC

Before the U.S. Mint began producing Proof gold coins in any sort of quantity in 1858, a limited number of proofs were struck in certain years. In 1846, it is belived that around four or five gold proof sets were made and today there are four 1846 quarter eagles known including two that are impounded in museums (Smithsonian and ANS). The other known example is the Trompeter/Eliasberg coin that appears to be graded PR65 by PCGS; it last sold in the 2/91 Superior sale for $52,800. The current coin, from the famous Pittman collection, has a pedigree going back well over a century and it is sourced from an original 1846 proof set that has been broken up. It has the look of a Gem with superb rich amber color over very reflective surfaces that are nearly free of hairlines. An old scratch on the obverse between stars nine and ten removes this from a higher grade and serves as immediate identification. With the exception of the 1841, Proof quarter eagles from the 1840's and early 1850's are virtually unknown and tend to be come available at major auctions. This is a remarkable opportunity for the collector or investor to own a truly monumental piece of American numismatics and it is a remarkable combination of rarity, beauty and provenance.

Ex Heritage 1/11: 5335 ($106,375), earlier part of an 1846 Proof set in the Pittman sale (lot 1712) that brought $522,500; obtained by Pittman from Numismatic Gallery in 1949 and before this part of an original 1846 gold proof set that was in Ed Frossard's November 1892 sale.

1890 $10.00 NGC PR64 UCAM CAC

A total of 63 Proofs were struck; my best estimate is that around 25 to 30 are known today with most in the PR63 to PR65 range. This piece has the eye appeal and general appearance of a Gem with just a few light hairlines keeping it out of the PR65 mark and a $45,000-50,000 price tag. It is extremely challenging to find accurately graded PR64 gold coins from this era and the majority of nice 64's tend to find their way, sooner or later, into PR65 holders. After I purchased this coin, I gave it some thought and came up with this conclusion: for a touch under $30,000, it would be very hard to imagine a better value in the arena of Proof gold. You can find smaller denomination Proof gold coins that are rarer than this (I have sold some amazing Proof gold dollars and quarter eagles in the last sixty days) but larger denomination Proof gold is very expensive and extremely hard to locate right now. A gorgeous coin and an item that I think makes a lot of sense to salt away as a medium to long term investment.

Ex Heritage 2012 FUN: 4989 where it sold for $29,900.

1883 $1.00 NGC PR64 Cameo CAC

A total of 207 were Proof gold dollars were minted in 1883. Based on the PCGS and NGC population data, I'd guess that as few as 50-60 are known with most of these in the PR64 to PR66 range. This example has incredible eye appeal for the grade with the naked eye appearance of a coin that grades at least a point or two higher. There is a small mint-made lintmark right at the tip of the bust that NGC must have felt limited the grade but there are a virtual absence of hairlines or friction on the cheek that you typically see on Proof coins of this era graded 64. In my opinion, a coin like this is simply outstanding value as it is one of the few legitimately scarce pieces of Proof gold you can buy in this price range that is not terribly impaired or relatively common. This is the only 1883 gold dollar in PR64 to have been approved by CAC; three finer examples have been approved as well.

1872 $2.50 PCGS PR64 DCAM

One of only 30 Proofs struck. Looking at population statistics and auction records over the last two or three decades, I believe that there are no more than 12-15 Proofs known and only a handful of these grade PR64 or better. This example is a virtual Gem with strong black and white contrast between the frosted devices and the watery fields. There are no significant hairlines noted below magnification; the obverse has a pair of small mint-made lintmarks in the left field and a tiny dark spot immediately above the eagle's left beak. There are no auction records whatsoever for this date in Proof DCAM or Proof UCAM and the last 1872 quarter eagle in Proof to sell was Stack's 8/07: 3125 (a PCGS PR64CAM) that realized $20,700. This coin is tied with two others as the best Proof 1872 quarter eagle graded by PCGS; NGC has graded a pair of PR65's and a single PR66 with Ultra Cameo contrast. Proof gold coins of this rarity and significance are almost never offered for sale except at auction and few coins that I have offered for sale in some time offer the value that this fantastic quarter eagle possesses in spades.

1862 $1.00 PCGS PR64 DCAM CAC

One of only 35 Proofs struck. It is likely that as few as 14-16 examples are known in Proof and this date rivals a number of other better-known, higher-priced issues in this series. This is a wonderfully choice example for the grade with bright, highly reflective fields and full cameo contrast. Both sides are superbly toned in deep natural orange-gold hues and there are just a few wispy hairlines (not from cleaning) seen on both sides. For the sake of identification, a tiny curved mint-made lintmark between DO in DOLLAR is mentioned. I think coins like this are exceptional value and I would strongly recommend putting early Proofs of all denominations away for a long-term hold as they seem to have lots and lots of upside. PCGS has graded just two in PR64DCAM with two better. This is the only example in this grade (with a DCAM designation) to have received CAC approval.

Ex Goldberg 2/06: 874 where it sold for $16,675