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Choice AU 1866-S No Motto Twenty
Conditional and Absolute Rarity

1866-S $20 No Motto AU55 NGC. The 1866-S No Motto and 1861-S Paquet Reverse double eagles keep good company, in that they are the S-mint keys in circulated grades (as most survivors are) to the Type One double eagles, just as the 1854-O and 1856-O are the O-mint series keys.

As a result of the upswing in religious zeal during and after the Civil War, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to American coinage, beginning with the introduction of the two cent piece in 1864 and continuing through all the other coinage denominations whose design was large enough to contain it -- basically ranging from the quarter dollar upward, omitting the gold dollar and quarter eagle. (The one cent piece would not receive the motto until the Lincoln cent was introduced in 1909.)

The 1866-S No Motto twenties were, accordingly, the last in the No Motto format; 1866-S twenties were also made with the Motto design. Various numismatic references give the number of No Motto pieces struck at about 120,000 pieces, versus 842,250 examples of the With Motto motif that followed. Nonetheless, the number of 1866-S No Motto coins surviving today is only about twice that of the 1861-S Paquet Reverse, an issue that we know was struck to the extent of only 19,250 pieces. Perhaps 200 survive of the 1866-S No Motto, 100 of the 1861-S Paquet.

The 1866-S No Motto is also conditionally rare, with most examples grading no better than Choice AU. The average certified piece is about XF45. This AU55 NGC example shows far less abrasions than usual for the issue, one normally found quite marked-up. A couple of small patches of reeding marks between star pairs 2-3 and 3-4 are the only mentionable obverse contact; other scattered marks are minor. The reverse shows some unobtrusive scrapes between TWENTY and UNITED. Otherwise, the orange-gold surfaces generate enormous eye appeal for such a conditionally elusive issue, showing much mint luster remaining and a decent strike. Census: 19 in 55, 10 finer (3/13).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 269W, PCGS# 8945)

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Auction Dates
April, 2013
24th-28th Wednesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 564

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