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    Description

    Famously Rare 1882 Twenty, AU53
    Only 571 Pieces Struck

    1882 $20 AU53 PCGS. The 1882 double eagle is so rare that even the Smithsonian Institution, keeper of the National Numismatic Collection, lacks an example of this issue. While there are numerous double eagle issues from the late 1870s through early 1890s that boast extraordinarily low mintages, the 1882 is the absolute lowest-mintage of them all, at 571 coins.
    Any representative of this issue, in any grade, is an extraordinary rarity.
    The next-lowest mintage of the denomination in the 1880s is the 1885, produced to the extent of 751 coins--an increase of over 30% in comparison to the 1882. In fact, the 1882 double eagle has the lowest mintage of any circulation strike in the double eagle series, save for the 1861-P Paquet Reverse.
    The 1882 double eagle is not only an issue with a remarkably low mintage to begin with, but its rarity is compounded because so few were saved. The handful of contemporary collectors who specialized in gold--and they were few and far between--preferred proof examples, which could be had from the Mint for a modest premium.
    The reasons for the minuscule mintage are complicated. Mint officials had adopted a new policy to stimulate national demand for half eagles and eagles, according to Rusty Goe in The Mint on Carson Street.

    "... double eagle output was decreased on a national scale as the Treasury implemented its new policy of expanding the distribution of $5 and $10 gold pieces.
    "It was the Treasury's conviction that if more gold coins in denominations less than twenty dollars were in reserve at Mint offices around the country, depositors would accept these coins in payment in lieu of waiting for additional double eagles to be struck."


    At any rate, the nation's operating mints had other troubles, as they shouldered the enormous burden of Morgan silver dollar production in 1882, amounting to more than 27.5 million pieces at four facilities.
    By contrast, only three mints struck double eagles at all, as New Orleans' last twenty was the 1879-O. In 1882 San Francisco struck 1.13 million twenties, with nearly 40,000 in Carson City--and the legendary low mintage of 571 double eagles in Philadelphia.
    The present AU53 example boasts light orange-gold surfaces that are highly reflective and semiprooflike, as expected. The piece is sharply detailed overall, with slight wear appearing on the high points. A scattering of handling marks and light abrasions on both sides is consistent with a short stint in circulation. Watch the bidder cards fly on this rare coin. Population: 2 in 53, 7 finer (9/10).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26BE, PCGS# 8996)

    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
    October, 2010
    28th-31st Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,895

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