Gem 1876-CC Twenty Cent Piece--A Premier Rarity in U.S. Numismatics1876-CC 20C MS66 PCGS. The huge amounts of silver that flowed from western mines such as the Comstock Lode flooded the world market and forced the gradual reduction of the metal's price throughout the late 1860s and early 1870s. In an effort to assist western mine owners by providing yet another federal outlet for their product, Senator John Percival Jones of Nevada introduced a bill in February 1874 calling for the production of a silver Twenty Cent Piece. First minted in 1875, the denomination's size and design led to widespread confusion with the Seated Liberty Quarter. Nevertheless, Director Henry R. Linderman understood the political pressure that the Mint faced to produce as many coins as possible from Comstock Lode silver. Accordingly, he instructed James Crawford, Superintendent of the Carson City facility, to maintain ample supplies of the denomination on hand. Since many of the 133,290 Twenty Cent Pieces struck at Carson City in 1875 had already been released into circulation, Crawford authorized the production of another 10,000 pieces in 1876. Struck sometime during the first week of May, the majority of these coins remained in the Mint's vaults until May 19, 1877. On that day, Linderman wrote Crawford a letter in which he instructed the Superintendent to destroy all remaining Twenty Cent Pieces. Shortly thereafter, between 12,300 and 12,350 CC-mint Twenty Cent Pieces went into the melting pot, a total that included almost the entire mintage of the 1876-CC. Nevertheless, about a dozen specimens escaped destruction through the hands of Mint employees and/or Assay Commission members.
This coin presents a remarkably different "look" than the specimen that we offered as lot 5177 in our January 2000 FUN Signature Sale. Both sides are richly toned in lavender-copper patina with brighter gold and blue undertones that sparkle as the coin rotates beneath a light. The devices are fully struck save for slight softness of detail on the obverse over Liberty's head and on the reverse at the top and bottom of the eagle's portrait. Modest hints of reflectivity are seen in the fields, as well as numerous small die polish lines (as struck). A tiny lintmark (also as produced) in the reverse field above the eagle's left (facing) wing is noted for pedigree purposes. (NGC ID# 23R9, PCGS# 5300)
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