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1850-O Double Eagle, MS60
First-Year O-Mint Twenty

1850-O $20 MS60 NGC. Variety 3. The New Orleans Mint had been open already for a dozen years when the new smallest and largest gold denominations were introduced, the gold dollar and double eagle, both precipitated as coinage vehicles for the great abundance of newly mined California gold. New Orleans was the logical dropping-off point for much of the new gold dust and ingots, and essential for those who wanted federal coinage; it would be four years yet before a federal mint would open in San Francisco in 1854, leaving Territorial coiners as the only alternative (and neither Dahlonega nor Charlotte, which along with New Orleans opened in 1838, were equipped to strike double eagles, or eagles for that matter).

The 1850-O double eagle production was a largish 141,000 coins, but these pieces were meant to circulate, and circulate they did. The average certified example is only Choice XF or thereabouts.

This medium yellow-gold example is strictly Uncirculated, no high-point rub or wear visible on either side. The strike is actually quite sharp, but the grade derives, as expected, from extensive (but mostly small) handling marks, thin scrapes and grazes, and only the occasional larger mark. For example, we note three milling marks in the right obverse field, clearly where the coin contacted the edge of another coin in a bag at some point. A few other medium-sized marks appear in the left obverse field and on Liberty's cheek, and a small dark spot occurs at star 2. The reverse shows a few similar largish marks, including a curving scrape through the D of UNITED and continuing into part of the glory of rays on the left side. Note, however, the full mint luster throughout both sides. Census: 1 in 60, 3 finer (5/13).

Offerings of this issue in Mint State are infrequent -- this is the first Uncirculated coin we have auctioned in four years -- and astute bidders will act accordingly.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 268G, PCGS# 8903)

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Auction Dates
July, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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