1891 LIBERTY HEAD $20 PR65 Deep Cameo
GEM DEEP CAMEO SURFACES. ONLY 52 STRUCK. AN AMAZING EXAMPLE OF A LIBERTY DOUBLE EAGLE. LESS THAN HALF ARE BELIEVED TO EXIST TODAY IN ANY GRADE.
The Double Eagle was not included in the original U.S. coinage family as defined by the Act of April 2, 1792. Rather, this denomination was borne out of the California Gold Rush. The huge quantities of gold taken out of the earth in California beginning in 1849 made it expedient for the United States Mint to have a larger coin through which to turn this metal into a widely accepted medium of exchange. The authorizing act for the Double Eagle is dated March 3, 1849, and a single example was struck that year as a pattern. That coin now reposes in the Smithsonian Institution. Regular-issue production commenced in 1850 with the Type I Liberty design. Coinage of the Double Eagle occurred every year through 1916, and then again from 1920-1933, with a few of the P-mint deliveries from the 1880s being proof-only issues. The series includes six major types: Type I Liberty; Type II Liberty; Type III Liberty; High Relief Saint-Gaudens; No Motto Saint-Gaudens; and Motto Saint-Gaudens. The Ultra High Relief pieces of 1907 are technically patterns, but the 1861 and 1861-S Paquet Reverse coins do represent an eagerly sought sub-type of the main Type I Liberty design.
Proof Double Eagle production in 1891 amounted to just 52 pieces. Most of those coins were melted as unsold, and the number of survivors totals only 20-25 specimens. In addition to their own rarity, proof 1891 Double Eagles are held in extremely high regard because the Philadelphia Mint struck only 1,390 business strike Twenties that year.