1871-CC $20 AU58 NGC....
Gorgeous Near-Mint 1871-CC Twenty1871-CC $20 AU58 NGC. Though the 1870-CC double eagle is substantially more elusive and exponentially more famous, the 1871-CC twenty is also challenging and low-mintage, though exactly how low is a matter of debate; the figure of 17,387 pieces prevails in the 2009 Guide Book, while Rusty Goe's The Mint on Carson Street cites a mintage of 14,687 double eagles, though he also acknowledges the higher figure.
Goe highlights an important reason why the earliest double eagles from the Carson City Mint are so elusive, particularly in better grades: while later issues often were shipped overseas and later repatriated, most of the earlier twenties circulated locally and changed hands frequently, wearing out and acquiring numerous abrasions. This is reflected in the certified populations: NGC has identified a mere six examples as Mint State, and PCGS has no coins graded above AU55 in its Population Report (8/08). NGC also shows a total of 21 pieces as AU58, though this number likely includes a substantial quantity of resubmission.
The Mint on Carson Street indicates that visual appeal is at a premium for this earlier issue: "Of the surviving 1871-CCs extant, few are inspiring, although there are several AU-55 and AU-58 examples which possess higher than average eye appeal ..." The present coin certainly matches that description, with gleaming yellow-orange fields that offer hints of reflectivity. The portrait and stars are well-defined for the issue, and though a handful of small abrasions are present on the obverse, they are trivial in context. Only a trace of friction stands in the way of an otherwise well-deserved Mint State grade.(Registry values: N1793) (NGC ID# 26AB, PCGS# 8961)
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