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Near-Mint 1854-O Double Eagle--Tied For Finest Known

1854-O $20 AU58 NGC. The 1854-O is one of the two rarest and most famous gold issues produced in the New Orleans mint. The original mintage was a paltry 3,250 pieces, and it is one of the rarest of all Coronet twenties, being comparable to other such exalted issues as the 1856-O, 1870-CC, 1881, 1885, and the proof-only 1883 and '84 dates. Among O-mints, only the 1856-O is as rare. Both issues have been regarded as numismatically significant since at least the early 1940s, although it is only recently that they have begun to sell for prices commensurate with their rarity and fame. This 1854-O is tied with the Dallas Bank Collection specimen, (previously believed to be the finest known of this rare issue). That coin soared to $161,000 when it was sold in October 2001. Most examples grade VF to XF and show heavy abrasions. We sold a PCGS graded XF45 in our February 2001 Long Beach Auction for $87,400. The 1854-O is generally considered by specialists to be the third rarest Type One double eagle, trailing only the uncollectible 1861 Paquet and the 1856-O. An estimated 25-35 1854-O double eagles are known in all grades with five to seven in About Uncirculated and none in Uncirculated.
According to our records, the following examples are the most significant certified AU representatives to appear at auction over the past decade:

1. Ex: January 31-February 2, 1993 Auction (Superior, 1-2/1993), lot 1484, where it realized $39,600. Certified AU50 by PCGS.

2. Ex: California Sale (Goldbergs, 10/2000), lot 1142, where it realized $81,650. Also certified AU50 by PCGS.

3. Ex: Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 5/2000), lot 780, where it realized $103,500. An AU55 PCGS example.

4. Ex: FUN Signature Sale--The Eagle Collection (Heritage, 1/2002), lot 4011, where it realized $92,000. Certified AU58 by NGC. The present specimen.

This example is tied with several other pieces as the finest known and it is certainly one of the highlights of this collection. The reddish tinged surfaces are original and bright overall with a semi-reflective finish evident in the fields. Well struck throughout, the surfaces are exceptionally clean for the grade with the only mentionable abrasion located just to the right of the Y in TWENTY on the lower reverse.
Ex: 2002 FUN Sale--The Eagle Collection (Heritage, 1/02), lot 4011, where it brought $92,000.(#8912) (Registry values: P10, N75000) (NGC ID# 268T, PCGS# 8912)

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Auction Dates
January, 2004
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 896

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