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Formidable Superb Gem 1857-S Twenty
Almost Certainly From the
S.S. Central America

1857-S $20 MS67 NGC. Variety 20B. The NGC insert lacks any indication of pedigree, but there is little doubt that the present Superb Gem is formerly from the S.S. Central America shipwreck, the source of all ultrahigh-grade examples of the issue. It is Variety 20B, the Bold "S," so described by S.S.C.A. researcher Robert Evans in his July 2000 Numismatist article. The Bold "S" is scarcer than the Variety 20A Spiked Shield, which also must have been in recent production when the cargo of double eagles left on its ill-fated journey via Panama to the East Coast.
The steamship sank on September 12, 1857, after a day of frantic bailing by passengers in the wake of a devastating hurricane. An expedition led by Tommy Thompson located the wreck in 1988 after an extensive search. The recovered bounty was kept off the market until circa 2001 by a legal battle with the descendant corporations of the S.S.C.A. insurers. Eventually, thousands of double eagles were marketed. But the typical '57-S representative grades MS64. As a Superb Gem, the '57-S is very rare. PCGS has certified eight as 20A and three as 20B. NGC has graded an additional seven as MS67, two with and five without the S.S.C.A. pedigree.
The present Superb Gem is well-struck, and its canary-gold surfaces lack any indication that the coin spent more than a century at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The surface preservation is extraordinary, with a brief slender mark above the Y in TWENTY as the best potential identifier. The ideal S.S.C.A. representative for those who will not settle for less than the finest possible quality.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 2696, PCGS# 8922)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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