P. Scott Rubin: The 1886 Double Eagle is a very rare coin with an original mintage of only 1,000 and an estimated survival of approximately 40 to 60 specimens. This is the only Liberty Head Double Eagle that was struck in only one Mint; it is one of the lowest mintages of all Liberty Head Double Eagles.
Since 2011, three 1886 Double eagles have sold above the $100,000 mark, the highest being $129,250 for a coin graded by PCGS as Uncirculated details, tooled, while the other two were graded AU58 each. This price is higher than for any Proof 1886 Double Eagle has ever sold at auction.
The interesting thing about this date is that until 1960 I can find only six auction records for circulation strike 1886 Double Eagles. The earliest auction record I can find is a Very Fine specimen sold by Henry Chapman in his December, 1908 sale of the Kuntz Collection, lot 38. It would take 36 years for another circulation strike 1886 Double Eagle to appear at auction. During the subsequent 36 years only five 1886 Double Eagles appeared, ranging in grades from Fine to Extremely Fine.
Suddenly, something changed during the next two decades as auction appearances of 1886 Double Eagles increased to an average of one a year. This was followed by another surge from 1980 to date, when the average auction appearance doubled to about two a year. The condition of most of the coins offered during that period ranged from Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated.David Akers (1975/88): The 1886 is one of the rarest dates of the entire Liberty Head Double Eagle series. Overall, it is a little more rare than either the 1881 or 1885 and, as a business strike, it is surpassed in rarity only by the 1861 Paquet and the 1882. Business strikes are on a par rarity-wise with the 1856-O and are actually more rare than the 1854-O and 1870-CC.
Stack's/Bowers 8//2011:7779, $106,375
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