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    Description

    Condition Rarity 1850-O Twenty, MS60
    First Branch Mint Double Eagle

    1850-O $20 MS60 PCGS. The 1850-O Liberty Head twenty is a first-date-of-issue coin, and the first branch mint double eagle. The reported mintage was a respectable 141,000 pieces, but virtually all these coins were released into circulation in the 1850s. Few examples were saved, and the surviving population is estimated at 500-600 examples in all grades. In Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint 1839-1909, Doug Winter writes:

    "The 1850-O is not really hard to locate in Very Fine and Extremely Fine grades. It is very scarce in the lower About Uncirculated grades and most of the examples in this range are characterized by heavily abraded surfaces. High end About Uncirculated pieces are truly rare and this issue is extremely rare in full Uncirculated."


    Winter estimates 3-4 specimens of the 1850-O are extant in Mint State grades. Allowing for resubmissions and crossovers, this coincides well with the population data from the leading grading services. NGC has certified two coins at the MS60 level, with three finer; while PCGS has graded only one single example in MS60, with none finer (10/09). Any coin at the MS60 level would be a candidate for Condition Census, if such a list was ever compiled.
    Collecting large denomination gold coins did not become popular until the late 1930s, and auction appearances of Liberty Head double eagles are uncommon before that era. One early appearance of the 1850-O occurred in the Smith, Dickie and Other Collections (Thomas Elder, 11/1935), lot 128: "1850. $20. New Orleans Mint. Rare. Fine." Elder's terse commentary was standard for the time. Clearly, he appreciated the rarity of the issue, even in lower grades.
    The present coin is an attractive specimen, with greenish-gold surfaces and underlying hints of red. The bright semireflective fields exhibit even mint luster. The coin is fully struck in the centers, with just some localized softness on several obverse stars. Numerous small to medium sized marks are scattered over each side, accounting for the grade. This rare Uncirculated specimen is sure to attract spirited bidding from Southern Gold specialists.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 268G, PCGS# 8903)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    3rd-6th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,004

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