Impressive 1879-O Double Eagle, AU551879-O $20 AU55 NGC. After the Civil War had ended, the New Orleans Mint remained dormant for a number of years, while the other Southern Mints permanently discontinued coinage operations. Eventually, a need for coinage in the South was recognized, and in 1879 the New Orleans Mint again manufactured hard money. Double eagles were among the first coins produced that year, but it would be the last of the denomination, while smaller gold coins and silver coins were produced for another 30 years.
Only 2,325 double eagles were coined at New Orleans during the year, and few of them survive today. This issue is now considered one of the great rarities in the series, and it is virtually unknown in Mint State. NGC has certified eight pieces as MS60 or better, while PCGS only recognizes a single MS60 specimen at the top of its population record. Today, the opportunity to bid on and acquire a top quality piece seldom occurs. Only five Mint State pieces have sold at auction in the past decade. Another eight AU58 pieces and a similar number of AU55 examples have crossed the auction block in the same time period. Therefore, just two examples per year have been auctioned in grades equal to or finer than this lovely piece.
The surfaces display rich green-gold luster with reflective fields. A few tiny marks are evident in the mirrored fields and on the devices, and they are entirely consistent with the grade. Sharply struck from a fresh pair of dies with no evidence of die lapping, clashing, or cracking. Census: 14 in 55, 17 finer (6/08).(Registry values: N4719) (NGC ID# 26B8, PCGS# 8990)
Weight: 33.44 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
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