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1861-O $20 AU53 PCGS....

2010 August Boston, MA Signature & Platinum Night ANA Coin Auction #1143

 
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Auction Ended On: Aug 11, 2010
Item Activity: 7 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location:

Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

Description:

Historic 1861-O Double Eagle, AU53
Last O-Mint Twenty Before 1879
1861-O $20 AU53 PCGS. Aside from a feeble mintage of 2,325 pieces in 1879, an ill-fated attempt to restart double eagle production at the New Orleans Mint, the 1861-O double eagles were the last produced in the city. Examples were struck under three different authorities: first the federal government, then the seceded independent Louisiana, and finally the Confederacy. While multiple attempts have been made to determine which coins were struck under the various authorities, based on die markers and other attributes, no single explanation has proved conclusive.
Doug Winter, in his Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint, highlights the issue as challenging. The design definition comes in for particular criticism: "This is the most poorly struck New Orleans double eagle and it is one of the hardest Type One issues to find with acceptable detail." He goes on to highlight obverse areas such as the date digits (on most examples, including this one) and the bow of Liberty's hair for their weakness, while noting that the reverse is typically sharper.
The present example, date excepted, has as strong a strike as is likely to be found for the date. Liberty's hair shows considerable detail, and only a handful of the obverse stars have ill-defined centers. The reverse is almost entirely crisp. Yellow-gold surfaces retain considerable luster that is partly reflective, though both sides also show a number of moderate abrasions, most visibly at Liberty's cheek and the space between stars 4 and 5 on the obverse. Such abrasions notwithstanding, a highly appealing example of this important issue. Population: 9 in 53, 21 finer (6/10).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 269J, PCGS# 8934)

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