Underrated 1859-O Twenty, AU501859-O $20 AU50 PCGS. CAC. Indisputably, the 1859-O is an underrated issue in the Liberty double eagle series. As of (11/08), PCGS has certified only 41 pieces in all grades. Interestingly, other dates within the series are valued higher in hobby price guides. For example, the 1861-S Paquet twenty is listed at approximately twice the price of the 1859-O double eagle in AU50 condition, yet the PCGS population of 1861-S survivors is nearly double that of the 1859-O---in AU50 and all grades combined. Even the two great O-mint Liberty double eagle rarities--the 1854-O and 1856-O--are valued at ten times that of the 1859-O, despite the fact that the PCGS Population Report indicates a ratio of approximately four 1859-O coins to one of each key-date survivor.
The documented mintage of 9,100 pieces is an immediate indication that the 1859-O is a rare date. Dave Bowers (2004) suggests an extant population of between 50 and 75 coins in all circulated grades up to AU58. He makes note of two Mint State examples, which correlates with current certified coin population data. PCGS shows one piece at the MS60 level, while NGC documents a single example graded as MS61 Prooflike. With such bleak statistics, even well heeled collectors are thrilled with the opportunity to own a AU50 example of this challenging date.
Moderately struck for the type, but well struck for the issue. The straw-gold coloration is even throughout. As always observed on 1859-O double eagle survivors, the surfaces are abraded and, at least on this example, mask the prooflike surfaces--traces of which can be seen within the recesses of the protected areas, and particularly so on the reverse. Population: 9 in 50, 18 finer (11/08).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 269B, PCGS# 8927)
Weight: 33.44 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
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