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Lot 3377

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3377
Date 1867
Side obverse
Grade 66
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 8951
Denomination $20
Description 1867 $20 MS66 NGC. CAC. The California Gold Rush was directly responsible for the double eagle denomination that was first produced at the Philadelphia and New Orleans Mints in 1850. The 30th U.S. Congress authorized the gold dollar and double eagle denominations on March 3, 1849: {blockquote}Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be, from time to time, struck and coined at the mint of the United States, and the branches thereof, conformably in all respects to law, (except that on the reverse of the gold dollar the figure of the eagle shall be omitted,) and conformably in all respects to the standard for gold coins now established by law, coins of gold of the following denominations and values, viz.: double eagles, each to be of the value of twenty dollars, or units, and gold dollars, each to be of the value of one dollar, or unit.{/blockquote} Section 2 of that coinage act identified the legal tender values of 20 dollars for the double eagle, and one dollar for the gold dollar. Section 3 enabled all existing laws in relation to U.S. coins to apply to both denominations. Section 4 specified the weight and legal deviations from the standard weight for both denominations. Substantial amounts of newly mined California gold were shipped to Philadelphia and New Orleans for conversion into gold coins. Once the San Francisco Mint opened in 1854, mintages at the other facilities dropped significantly. From 1850 to 1853, Philadelphia averaged 1.6 million double eagles per year, and New Orleans averaged 179,000 per year. From 1854 to 1861, Philadelphia averaged 712,000 per year (including nearly 3 million in 1861), New Orleans averaged 14,000 per year, and San Francisco averaged 747,000 per year. From 1862 to 1870, the average yearly production was 241,000 in Philadelphia, and 864,000 at San Francisco. Clearly the opening of the San Francisco Mint had a direct effect on coinage at Philadelphia. In 1867, the Philadelphia Mint coined 251,015 double eagles. Most of those coins entered circulation. Based on his analysis of auction records in 1982, David Akers recorded an average auction grade of 52. 16 years later, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth reported an average auction grade of 60.3, based on auction appearances from 1991 to 2005. Today, the average certified grade of 712 coins submitted to NGC and PCGS is 56.6. Perhaps most telling is the combined Mint State population at NGC and PCGS that includes 41 graded MS60, 192 graded MS61, 77 graded MS62, four graded MS63, and this piece graded MS66. David Akers, and Jeff Garrett, with Ron Guth, report the existence of European hoards of this date that were discovered in the 1960s and returned to the United States, appearing in groups until the 1980s. The typical Mint State hoard coin was heavily abraded with exceptional luster. In addition to its incredible quality, three points finer than anything else that has ever passed through an independent grading room in Florida or California, this piece from the Eric P. Newman Collection almost certainly predates the European hoard discoveries. The date is placed a trifle high in the obverse die, with the top of the 1 nearly touching the bust line. The J in J.B.L. is a tad left of center over the 8. There is no evidence of die doubling, misplaced date digits, or other anomalies. We are unaware of any detailed die studies for this date. The collector who seeks the finest possible collection of Liberty double eagles will do well to pursue this opportunity, as we expect this piece to remain off the market for many years after the conclusion of bidding. Once this Eric P. Newman coin crosses the auction block, the collector seeking a top quality coin will have to compete for one of the four MS63 examples, or the 77 MS62 examples. This impressive Premium Gem example has brilliant yellow luster with delicate blue overtones. The sharp strike has full obverse and reverse details that include sharp stars on the obverse, full hair definition, and bold feathers on the reverse. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $258500.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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