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Lovely Quality AU 1861-O Double Eagle

1861-O $20 AU53 NGC. It is not known if this is a product of the United States, the State of Louisiana, or the Confederacy. Most numismatists agree that the first 5,000 coins, struck in January 1861, were issued under authority of the United States government prior to January 26, 1861. The next 9,750 pieces, coined from January 26 to May 31, 1861, were issued under authority of the State of Louisiana, and the remaining 2,991 pieces were struck under authority of the Confederate States government after June 1, 1861. It is not possible to determine which entity produced any given coin, but that didn't stop Walter Breen, who suggested that: "possibly the rebel strikings are those with greatest weakness at base of date."
The total mintage was 17,741 coins, and nearly every example that survives today is well circulated, although PCGS and NGC have combined to certify seven Mint State coins. A single AU58 example was recovered in the S.S. Republic treasure. Winter and Crum were not willing to acknowledge the existence of any Mint State examples: "The 1861-O is a scarce and historically significant issue. It is most often seen in Very Fine and Extremely Fine grades. It is very scarce in lower About Uncirculated grades and it is rare in about Uncirculated-55. Properly graded About Uncirculated-58 examples are very rare and there are currently no pieces that grade Uncirculated. This issue is still quite undervalued considering its rarity and significance."
The typical 1861-O double eagle is poorly struck with considerable weakness, especially at the lower part of the obverse, including the date and stars. Nearly all known examples have myriad abrasions and a number of deeper marks, including scratches and scrapes. The usual appearance is rich green-gold color and most examples have below average eye appeal. These are all reasons to described this example as atypical. While the strike is similar to the normally seen example with the bottom part of the date showing considerable weakness, most of the stars are sharp and the reverse is well-defined. The surfaces of this example are really quite remarkable with few abrasions of any type, and clearly without scratches or scrapes. This example has vivid green-gold color with hints of lighter yellow, and considerable remaining luster. The aesthetic appeal of this example is remarkable, making this an extremely desirable rarity.
From The Wyoming Collection.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 269J, PCGS# 8934)

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Auction Dates
August, 2006
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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