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Extremely Rare 1861 Clark, Gruber Twenty Copper Dies Trial, K-12b

1861 $20 Clark, Gruber $20 Copper Dies Trial MS64 Brown NGC. K-12b, High R.7. A rare dies trial from the final year of true private gold coinage. Jewelers continued to produce small denomination gold pieces for sale as souvenirs, but these fall into a different category than the 1861 Clark, Gruber & Co. issues, which were intended for circulation due to a shortage of Federal coin in Colorado territory. Kagin-12b uses the same reverse die as the issued 1861 Clark, Gruber twenty dollar piece. This reverse die is identified by the V in DENVER, which appears to be recut over the letter N. However, the obverse die for K-12b was apparently never used to strike gold coins. Unlike the issued twenty dollar piece (K-8), PIKES PEAK is centered on the coronet, and star 7 is left of the coronet. Presumably, the K-8 obverse die lasted longer than anticipated, and never required replacement by the obverse die used to strike the K-12b dies trial. Copper dies trials were also struck for the K-8 dies, and are listed in the standard Kagin reference under K-12c.
This K-12b example is attractively toned light chocolate-brown, with sky-blue shades near the margins. The fields show good reflectivity, which suggests that both the planchets and dies were polished prior to the strike. Denticles are only faintly evident, since the piece was broadstruck, without the restraint of a collar die. The strike is sharper than seen on the gold examples struck for circulation (compare against the 2007 Guide Book photo on page 363), particularly on the horizontal shield lines. The obverse stars and occasional portions of the hair lack a complete impression. Post-strike imperfections are limited to faint obverse hairlines, which are only visible at certain angles and under strong magnification. As of (10/06), NGC has certified only one example of K-12b, the current lot, and many years may pass before another opportunity for acquisition comes along.
From The Jones Beach Collection. (PCGS# 10153)

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Auction Dates
January, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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