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Reflective 1882 Double Eagle, AU58
Among the Lowest-Mintage U.S. Gold Coins

1882 $20 AU58 PCGS. In 1885 the Mint made only 751 double eagles, but three years earlier in 1882 they made an even-lower-mintage issue, the 1882 double eagle, at 571 circulation strikes. That total is among the lowest for any regular-issue U.S. gold coin -- in fact, the mintage is not that far off from the 1796 Stars Obverse quarter eagle or 1797 quarter eagle, at 432 and 427 pieces, respectively.
And circulate they did: PCGS' CoinFacts website estimates that from 25 to 35 pieces survive today in all grades, or from 4% to 6% of the original mintage. Mint State examples of the 1882 twenty are, needless to say, few and far between. The PCGS Population Report shows two submissions in MS61, one in MS60, and two in AU58, including the present piece. NGC shows one in MS62, five in AU58, two each in AU55 and AU50, and one in XF40. This represents only 16 submissions at the two certification services combined, a figure that includes almost certain duplications. Garrett and Guth write, however, of another piece:

"The finest example seen by the authors has been the spectacular Dallas Bank Collection piece. The coin would probably grade MS-63 or MS-64 by today's standards. It sold uncertified in 2001 for $86,250. This was quite the bargain; to illustrate this point, a PCGS AU-58 coin sold for $60,375 in 2005."

More recently, we offered a MS60 PCGS-graded piece in our FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3204, which brought $138,000. The present AU58 PCGS example is the second-finest PCGS example, behind the one above, that we have offered. Bold sun-yellow reflectivity in the fields befits this low-mintage issue. The strike is excellent, particularly on Liberty's hair. Though the obverse is extensively abraded, including choppy flaws at Liberty's nose and just above the coronet, the reverse presents a much cleaner (though still significantly marked) appearance, and any actual wear is hard to discern. The interesting die characteristics are shared among the proof and business strikes, struck from the same dies, including a low 2 in the date and rather attenuated details on several reverse features, notably the hair behind the eagle's neck, the fleur de lys below the beak, and some of the scrollwork. An important and fleeting opportunity for double eagle specialists. Population: 2 in 58, 3 finer (9/11).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26BE, PCGS# 8996)

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Auction Dates
October, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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