1853 $20 Assay Office Twenty Dollar, 900 Thous. MS61 NGC....
Mint State 1853 Assay Office Twenty, K-181853 $20 Assay Office Twenty Dollar, 900 Thous. MS61 NGC. K-18, R.2. All of the 1853 U.S. Assay Office twenties are actually 900/880 THOUS., but the underlying 880 faded from the dies as more pieces were struck. The .900 THOUS. pieces are not as elusive as the .884 THOUS. variety (K-17, low R.7) that was issued. These pieces were issued because of a lack of parting acids and in their naturally alloyed state, in defiance of the Congressional edict that mandated that only .900 fine gold coins were acceptable for payment of customs duties. Kagin's Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States asserts that 2.5 million of the K-18 coins were struck between March and October 1853, but most were either circulated or melted. Today the average grade for certified survivors--the top end of the total extant population--is a bit less than AU55. NGC and PCGS together document 254 survivors of the K-18 pairing(s) in the various Mint State grades, from which an appropriate amount may be subtracted for resubmissions.
This is an exceptionally well struck example that shows full feather definition in the center of the obverse and no weakness on the letters on the reverse. Rich orange-gold color is seen on each side as well as surprising mint luster. A few widely scattered field marks on both sides account for the MS61 grade.
Listed on page 365 of the 2009 Guide Book. (PCGS# 10013)
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