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Description

1866 Double Eagle in Copper, PR65 Red and Brown
Finest Known Example
Judd-549, Pollock-612
Unique as Non-Gilt?

1866 $20 Twenty Dollar, Judd-549, Pollock-612, High R.7 but Unique or R.8 Non-Gilt, PR65 Red and Brown NGC. CAC.
Design.
Both obverse and reverse are from dies similar to those used for the regular-issue coinage of 1866. Struck in copper, with a reeded edge.

Commentary. The Type Two design was introduced on regular double eagle coinage in 1866, with the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse. Transitional copper patterns with the motto, Judd-453, were struck in 1865, and the present Judd-549 issue was coined in 1866. Historically, both Judd-453 and Judd-549 were listed as die trials, but USPatterns.com indicates they may have been produced for sale to collectors.

Our research indicates two reverse dies were used to strike Judd-549, creating two die varieties for the issue. This coin represents the variety we have designated Reverse A, with the N in IN placed high and the G in GOD placed low in relation to the other devices. Many of the reverse stars show evidence of recutting on this variety. Reverse B was employed on the coin illustrated in the Tree Many Feathers Collection (Bowers and Merena, 9/2001), lot 185, with the letters in the motto arranged in a smooth arc, and no recutting of the stars. Reverse A was also used on Judd-453 in 1865, and on some of the double eagle proof coins in 1866 and 1867. This indicates that the issue must have been struck at some time close to the purported 1866 date and was not a restrike from later years.

Many examples of Judd-549 have been plated in gold over the years, with a gilt specimen appearing at least as early as the Woodside Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 4/1892). Gilt specimens have dominated recent auction appearances, and we believe this is the first public auction of a copper example in many years. It is possible that some of the early copper appearances in the roster are of coins that were later gilt. Judd-549 is certainly extremely rare in its original copper state, and this coin may be the only example still extant.

Physical Description. This magnificent Gem is the finest known example of this very rare pattern, with razor-sharp definition on all design elements and no mentionable signs of contact on either side. The well-preserved surfaces display a mixture of original red and light brown patina, with strong mint luster on the devices and remnants of reflectivity at the peripheries. Close inspection reveals only a couple of minor carbon spots on the reverse. This lot combines historical significance, absolute rarity, the highest available technical quality, and terrific eye appeal in one irresistible package.


Roster and Provenance.
1. PR65 Red and Brown NGC. "Col." E.H.R. Green; Eric P. Newman, EPNNES, Reverse A; the present coin.

Gilt Specimens:
1. PR63 Gilt NGC. Dr. Charles Ruby Collection (Superior, 2/1974), lot 1975; Stack's FPL (1977); Tree Many Feathers Collection (Bowers and Merena, 9/2001), lot 185, sale postponed until November 28, due to 9/11 attack; Elite Sale (Superior, 1/2003), lot 544, Reverse B.
2. PR62 Gilt NGC. Possibly King Farouk; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 1796; New York Americana Sale (Stack's, 1/2010), lot 3702, Reverse A.
3. PR61 Gilt NGC. Possibly the Americana Sale (Stack's, 1/2006), lot 3286; Simpson Collection; Boston ANA (Heritage, 8/2010), lot 3714, Reverse A.


Earlier Appearances:
A. Proof. Parmelee Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 6/1890), lot 156.
B. Proof Gilt. Woodside Collection (New York Coin & Stamp, 4/1892), lot 178.
C. A specimen in the Illustrated History of United States Coins, Abe Kosoff (1962), page 36.
D. A specimen referred to in the 7th edition of Judd, from the Michal Collection.


Provenance. "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; Green Estate; Partnership of Eric P. Newman / B.G. Johnson d.b.a. St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co.; Eric P. Newman @ $60; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
From The Eric P. Newman Collection. (NGC ID# 2VRC, PCGS# 70747)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
April, 2013
24th-28th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 13
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Page Views: 681

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