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Description

1879-O Twenty, Brilliant AU58
New Orleans Type Three Rarity

1879-O $20 AU58 NGC. As a one-year, stand-alone type coin, the 1879-O double eagle has long bedazzled numismatists by its rarity and singular collectibility. A meager 2,325 pieces were produced at the reopened New Orleans Mint, most likely as a token mintage of Southern gold (along with 1,500 gold eagles) to commemorate resumption of production at the facility. The main purpose of operating the New Orleans branch mint was to help coin silver dollars, which it accomplished to the tune of almost 2.9 million pieces in 1879.

The tiny output of double eagles creates a conundrum for both double eagle and type coin collectors. The 1879-O twenty is the final New Orleans issue of the denomination and the solitary representative of the Type Three, With Motto design -- an essential coin for any advanced collection of double eagles. It is equally important to type specialists for the same reasons. Yet, a surviving pool of perhaps 125 examples is woefully inadequate to satisfy everyone.

The near-Mint specimen offered here can solve all that for its fortunate new owner. The coin has the vibrant appeal of an Uncirculated piece, with bountiful mint luster and little evidence of actual wear. The inescapable abrasions that typify this issue are confined primarily to the reverse, where none are individually distressing but likely affect the coin's numeric grade by their frequency. The strike is sharp for the New Orleans Mint, with good hair detail on Liberty and only a touch of flatness on the uppermost curls and the top of the head.

Traces of prooflikeness remain, which is expected for a date with such a small mintage. Doug Winter has written that the 1879-O, along with the 1861-O, are the two New Orleans double eagles that have consistently gained in popularity and now appear on more want lists than any other gold coin from this mint. Census: 10 in 58, 9 finer (11/13).
From the collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation.(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 254H, PCGS# 8990)

View all of [The collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation ]

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Auction Dates
January, 2014
8th-12th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 5
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