My recent post on 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin Prices highlighted the fact that huge premiums were being paid for proof like coins which had received NGC’s “PL” designation. Many readers wanted to find more information about how to identify proof like coins and how they are differentiated from non-PL coins.
Bob and Rich Leece or Robert B. Leece Numismatist Inc. (http://rareusgold.com), who have probably handled more UHR Double Eagles than anyone, were willing to provide their expertise for an article published on Coin Update.
The following excerpt from the article is their description of the characteristics of Proof Like Ultra High Relief Double Eagles and how they can be distinguished from non Proof Like coins.
A PL coin has a definite Proof Like and Shinny Mirror Surface on ALL of the Obverse and Reverse of the coin. The only difference from the UHR PL coins and other Modern Proof coins is that the UHR PL coins do NOT exhibit the Cameo Contrast that is evident on standard Modern Proof Coins. In our opinion they fit the standards of Proof in all other aspects. Once you have seen a PL and a NON PL UHR side by side it the difference becomes more obvious. A NON Proof Like coin has a satin matte like surface not unlike a standard MS or burnished modern coin.
The problem lies in that there is a wide range of “in between” surfaces. They range from almost PL to very slight faint hints of PL. There are also coins that are PL on the Obverse but not on the reverse. The range can be drastic. From our experience a UHR is much more likely to have a PL Obverse and non-PL reverse. It seems to me that the definitive distinction of a PL coin is a coin that has FULL PL surfaces on Obverse and Reverse including and MOST importantly in between the rays on the reverse of the coin. That is the most likely part of the coin to lack the true PL surface.
The full article contains additional information and images of Proof Like UHR Double Eagles, including an estimate of the proportion of coins qualifying as proof like and how they could have been created.
Read the full article:
Proof Like 2009 Ultra High Relief Double eagles Fetch Big Premiums