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Description

Astounding PR68 1876 Twenty Cent Piece

1876 20C PR68 NGC. Of the odd denomination minor coinage issues of the United States, the twenty cent piece is by far the shortest-lived series. Business strikes and proofs were coined in 1875 and 1876, with a combined total of less than 1000 proof-only issues struck for collectors in 1877 and 1878. Its downfall was directly tied to public confusion between the new twenty cent design and the quarter dollar. Several pattern proposals of the new denomination were issued in 1874 and 1875 but the Treasury preferred uniformity of design within a series of coins of a single metal (Breen, 1988). The pattern most similar to the circulating quarter of that time, known by modern day collectors as Judd-1411, was the design chosen by Mint Director Henry Linderman. The obverse is similar to Gobrecht's Seated Liberty motif and the reverse only differs slightly in the design of the eagle, which was borrowed from Barber's Trade dollar. Given the fact that the diameter of the twenty cent piece is only 2.3 mm smaller than the quarter of the same generation, it is easy to see how one could become befuddled when encountering a twenty cent in the course of commerce. The Treasury must have anticipated the likelihood of confusion as the twenty cent piece is the only silver coin, with the lone exception of the three cent piece, ever issued for circulation by the U.S. government with a plain edge. Unfortunately, the elimination of an edge device was not enough of a difference and the new denomination quickly fell out of favor with the public. The twenty cent denomination, which, ironically, was rejected by Congress in 1806 for similar reasons, had to be eliminated. According to Breen in his Complete Encyclopedia, "A bill to repeal the Mint's authority to manufacture these coins was introduced in July 1876, finally becoming law May 2, 1878. Coins on hand in all mints had to be melted down, by order of Mint Director Linderman, May 1, 1878, for recoinage into other denominations."
Merely three 1876 twenty cent pieces have been deemed worthy of the astoundingly high grade of PR68 by NGC (7/07). This coin is essentially perfect. The fields are brightly mirrored and enhance the deep aquamarine and rose toning that is seen over each side. Pinpoint striking definition, as one would expect from a proof striking.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 27H3, PCGS# 5304)

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Auction Dates
August, 2007
8th-12th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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