Mitch Spivack: I often get asked about this coin and, in particular, the difference between it and the 2006-W $50 Eagle FS DC 20th Anniv coin, which has a separate coin number and separate slot in the Price Guide. Here is what I know. In the first quarter of 2006, the U.S. Mint came out with its typical 4-pc. Proof Gold set it had been selling every year beginning in 1988 (1987 had only a 2 pc. set and 1986 had only the 1 oz. proof coin) as well as single coin offerings for the $5, $10, $25 and $50 proof gold eagles from this year. During the first (30) days of the release of these coins, it was my experience that submissions of these coins to PCGS was fairly "light" (as witnessed by the total number of "First Strike" coins that exist). I believe many of the larger dealers were more focused on the bullion gold mint state examples from this year at that time, not to mention this was the first year of "First Strike" for the proof gold eagles at PCGS (Mint State "First Strike" Gold Eagles started a year earlier) and this new use for "First Strike" on the proof gold (or Platinum) eagles was simply not being highly promoted by PCGS at the time (although PCGS was very busy with "First Strike" Silver Eagle coins). Additionally, the vast majority of collectors had their eye on the upcoming "20th Anniversary" 3-pc. $50 gold eagle set that was due to be released months after this 4-pc. proof gold set. In that 20th Anniversary 3-pc. gold set, there was to be the very special "reverse proof" $50 gold eagle limited to a 10,000 max. mintage as well as an example of the 2006-W Mint State Gold Eagle (sold in other formats) and the $50 Proof Gold Eagle - the same proof gold eagle coin as the one in the 4-pc. set being offered a second time in 2006 in a different format. The (3) gold coins from the 20th Anniv. set all got different coin numbers at PCGS ("First Strike" and non-"First Strike") and, in fact, the only way to receive the "First Strike" designation on the $50 proof gold eagle from the 3-pc. 20th Anniv. set was to submit the set sealed to PCGS; otherwise PCGS would be unable to differentiate between the $50 Proof Gold Eagle issued earlier in the year in the 4-pc. set (i.e. the one I am discussing here) with the one contained in the 20th Anniv. set. Hence, two different PCGS coin numbers for this 2006-W Proof Gold Eagle in "First Strike" - one for this coin which came from the 4-pc. Proof Gold Eagle set released in the first quarter of 2006 and another for the coin that was released later in the year as part of the 3-pc. 20th Anniv. set. I believe at present, while the $5, $10 and $25 Proof Gold Eagles from the 4-pc. set each have a separate slot in the PCGS Set Registry for "First Strike", this particular coin is in the registry as an "either/or" along with the coin from the 20th Anniv. set.
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