Press Release - July 8, 2004

Finest Known 1871-CC Double Eagle to Sell In Heritage ANA Signature Auction

Dallas, Texas: Heritage Numismatic Auctions will be offering the finest known 1871-CC double eagle in its official ANA Signature Auction taking place in Pittsburgh, August 18-21.

This outstanding coin has been graded MS63 by NGC and is easily the finest known, being one of just two Mint State examples of the date that exist. In fact, NGC has certified this example as MS-63 and one other as MS-61. The next best examples by this grading service are just AU-58. PCGS has not graded a single example finer than AU-55. This double eagle has rich greenish gold surfaces and splashes of coppery orange toning with reflective fields and very light cameo contrast.

The numismatic community has known of this specimen since at least 1977. At about that same time, David Akers finished his auction survey of double eagles, and noted that he had never personally seen even an AU example. In Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint, Douglas Winter recorded the pedigree as: Ed Shapiro, circa 1978; private collection; Superior (1/88), lot 4414; David Akers (Auction '88), lot 977; eastern collector; dealer intermediaries; private collection.

Akers was especially taken by this lovely twenty when he wrote his description for the Auction '88 catalog: "Until we saw this coin, we had never seen a full mint state 1871-CC $20 and only 3 or 4 that could even legitimately be graded AU. This specimen is a choice, fully struck specimen with a sharp square edge, somewhat satiny, somewhat semi-prooflike fields and excellent light greenish gold and coppery toning. There are only a few light marks and faint hairlines in the fields and it is really quite amazing to see an 1871-CC double eagle in this state of preservation."

The early Carson City Mint gold coinage met two fates, either circulating heavily in Nevada shortly after the time of issue, or being exported to the Orient and elsewhere. Those that entered circulation quickly became heavily marked and worn. It is highly unlikely that many or any of the coins exported were returned, however, were most likely melted for their gold content. As a result, few of the original production have survived to this day, and the existence of even a single Select Mint State example is strictly a matter of chance.

At the time these coins were issued, collecting by mintmark was not actively pursued within the numismatic community, with most collectors content with but a single example of each date. In his recent reference titled The Mint on Carson Street, author Rusty Goe estimated a total survival of 200 to 235 coins in all grades. Douglas Winter reported a similar survival in his reference. Goe records the original mintage of 1871-CC double eagles as 14,687 coins, based on official Mint records; however, Akers, Winter, and others have reported a mintage of 17,387 coins. Regardless of which figure is correct, the reality of the situation is that this is a very rare coin, indeed, and is the single finest 1871-CC double eagle in existence.

Featured collections in Heritage's August Pittsburgh ANA Signature Sale include the Karl Scheible Collection of first year of issue coins, Part Three of the Paulsboro Collection, Part Two of the Harold W. Anderson Collection, Part Two of The Del Rio Collection; The Frank O. Fredericks Collection, Part Five; The Greenwich Collection, Part Two; The Dr. Frank Lanza Collection; The JFS Collection, Part Two; and The John Michael Stuart Collection.

Catalogs for this sale will be available in late July. For more information call Kathy Eilers at 1-800 US COINS (1-800-872-6467), ext 392, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219 or visit Heritage's website to pay by credit card.

Images, descriptions, and prices realized from past auctions are available in the Permanent Auction Archives.

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