1861-O Double Eagle, An Absolute and Condition Rarity From the New Orleans Mint1861-O $20 XF45 NGC. The true rarity of the 1861-O is best expressed by the fact that this particular coin has the lowest grade of any New Orleans Double Eagle in this extensive specialized collection. The owner of the Eagle Collection looked long and hard to upgrade this XF45 example (in and of itself an above average example for the date), but could never find one that met his standards.
This is a truly historic issue as it was struck under three different authorities: the Union (5,000 struck in January 1861), the State of Louisiana (9,750 struck from late January to May) and the Confederacy (2,991 struck after June 1). Unfortunately, there is no exact way to determine which governing authority produced which coins.
There are an estimated 135-165 1861-O Double Eagles known and most grade VF25 to XF40. There are as many as 30 pieces known in the various About Uncirculated grades but most are low end. This is a very rare and undervalued issue in AU55 and a major rarity in properly graded AU58. We have never seen or examined an Uncirculated 1861-O and have seen just three that we graded AU58.
Somewhat weakly defined around the margins, most notably in the date area, this piece is not heavily abraded, as most examples are of this issue. The fields do show remnants of a prooflike finish, which is characteristic of many 1861-O Twenties, now mainly just seen around the devices after 15 points of wear. (NGC ID# 269J, PCGS# 8934)
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