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    1866 Liberty Double Eagle, MS63
    First Year With Motto
    Only One Finer at PCGS

    1866 $20 Motto MS63 PCGS. The design of the double eagle was modified to include the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse in 1866, initiating the popular Type Two design. The San Francisco Mint struck both Type One and Type Two twenties that year, but all double eagles produced at the Philadelphia Mint were of the new Motto design.

    The 1866 Liberty double eagle claims a substantial business-strike mintage of 698,745 pieces, but few high quality examples were saved by contemporary collectors. Only the wealthiest 19th century collectors could afford to set aside lengthy date runs of twenty dollar gold coins, and the well-heeled numismatists who did collect double eagles preferred to update their collections by purchasing proof examples from the Mint every year. The coins were seldom seen in circulation, as they could only be purchased from banks and bullion brokers at a premium and the general public had become accustomed to the more convenient paper money during the Civil War years. Much of the 1866 mintage was exported and melted. Some more coins were sent to the Western United States where they circulated heavily in the hard-money economy of that region. By the time numismatic interest in the denomination became widespread in the late 1930s the coins had been circulating for decades, suffering much wear and attrition along the way. The 1866 Liberty double eagle is not difficult to locate in circulated grades today, but Mint State examples are decidedly elusive. Most Uncirculated examples are concentrated in the MS60-MS61 grade range and finer coins are rare. The present coin is the only MS63 example certified at PCGS, with a single MS64 specimen finer, while NGC has graded no coins in MS63, also with one finer (4/20).

    The coin offered here is a charming Select specimen, with sharply detailed design elements throughout. The lightly marked orange-gold surfaces are lustrous and appealing. An amber alloy streak on the reverse, above the eagle's left (facing) wing, is the best pedigree marker. We expect intense competition from series specialists, type collectors, and Registry Set enthusiasts when this lot is called. This coin is pictured on PCGS CoinFacts. Population: 1 in 63, 1 finer (4/20).(Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 269X, PCGS# 8949)

    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
    June, 2020
    4th-7th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 492

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