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1870-CC $20 -- Cleaned -- ANACS. AU Details. Variety 2-B....

2014 February 3 - 5 US Coins Signature Auction - New York #1202

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Auction Ended On: Feb 4, 2014
Item Activity: 12 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
445 Park Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022

1870-CC Double Eagle, AU Sharpness
Rarest Carson City Gold Coin
Seldom Seen in Any Grade
1870-CC $20 -- Cleaned -- ANACS. AU Details. Variety 2-B. The second C in the mintmark is higher than the first, and both C's are centered over NT in TWENTY. The upright of the 1 in the date is centered over a dentil.

Abraham "Abe" Curry founded the town of Carson in the western portion of the Utah Territory in 1858, naming it for the Indian scout and explorer Kit Carson, a town that would later become known as Carson City. The famous Comstock Lode of silver and gold would be discovered the following year, in 1859, but it would be 1870 before the Carson City Mint would finally open for coinage operations.

On February 3, 1870, the Carson City Mint officially struck its first coins, silver dollars dated 1870-CC, as reported in the February 5 edition of the Daily Alta California newspaper. The founder of Carson City, Abraham Curry, served as the first superintendent of the new mint.

In keeping with the character of the Comstock Lode, the Carson City Mint would strike during its first year the largest three circulating denominations each in silver and gold -- silver quarters, half dollars, and dollars, along with gold half eagles, eagles, and double eagles.

The "1870-CC" date is a magical one for collectors, and no more so than when associated with the twenty dollar denomination, America's largest circulating denomination of the classic era of U.S. gold coinage. The 1870-CC double eagle has a noted and well-earned reputation as the most expensive among the Liberty Head double eagles. Curiously, the Carson City Mint required two die pairs to strike the pieces. Today it is estimated that no more than 45 or 50 examples survive in all grades -- a survival rate of 1.25% to 1.4% of the original mintage of 3,789 coins. Mint State examples of the 1870-CC double eagle are unknown.

An example with AU Details such as the present coin is bound to be the object of particular attention on the part of multiple bidders. The surfaces are bright, even yellow-gold, showing light wear consistent with the AU Details grade on each side. A few light marks in the field are as expected, but none are overt or, indeed, large enough to serve as pedigree identifiers.

Offerings of 1870-CC double eagles are infrequent, even at Heritage, and they are noteworthy. Searching back through our Permanent Auction Archives, we find that the last offering was an XF40 NGC-graded piece in our Dallas Signature (Heritage, 10/2012), lot 6210, which brought a hearty $193,875 after 11 distinct bidders joined in the fracas. The overall rarity of the issue make its by far the most elusive Carson City gold coin, and second within the Liberty Head double eagles only to the extremely rare 1861 Philadelphia Paquet issue.

We expect that this desirable, well-detailed, and eminently collectible 1870-CC double eagle will also rouse much collector attention at the auction block.(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 26A8, PCGS# 8958)

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