1866-S $20 No Motto AU53 NGC....
Lustrous 1866-S No Motto Twenty, AU531866-S $20 No Motto AU53 NGC. The final No Motto or Type One Liberty double eagle issue was only minted in San Francisco during the transitional year. Mint records actually suggest that 120,000 pieces were coined, although some numismatists believe the actual figure was only 12,000. Another scenario is that 120,000 were struck from two left over No Motto reverse dies, with most melted upon receipt of the new Type Two reverse dies. Regardless of what actually transpired at the beginning of the year, today less than 200 pieces survive, and nearly all are well-worn.
In their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth observe: "There are probably no more than 200 examples known in all grades. Extremely Fine pieces are rare, and in About Uncirculated the issue is considered a major rarity. Even by today's more liberal standards, there are no known Mint State examples." Since those words were written in 2006, four submissions have been certified as Mint State, one at PCGS and three at NGC.
This specimen is far above the norm for surviving 1866-S No Motto double eagles. Only a trace of wear appears on the highpoints, the surfaces are much less abraded than usual with only a few trivial marks on either side, and the luster is excellent, with attractive light yellow-gold frost. Faint traces of rose patina appear within a few of the devices. Census: 22 in 53, 25 finer (10/08).
From The Baltimore Collection.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 269W, PCGS# 8945)
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