1882 Double Eagle, AU53
1882 $20 AU53 PCGS. This elusive date possesses the
second-lowest mintage of all circulation-strike double eagles. Only
the 1861-S Paquet reverse issue can boast a smaller total mintage.
With only 571 pieces struck, the 1882 is eagerly sought in any and
all business-strike grades, and numismatic researchers estimate
that fewer than 25 exist in any condition for today's collectors.
We have no no way of knowing whether the small group of
contemporary collectors were aware of the date's limited mintage,
but it is obvious that few were saved at the time.
Exceptional High-Grade Example
Most collectors of the 1880s, of course, were unwilling or unable to tie up more than two weeks' wages to buy a single just-issued circulating coin. Nor was proof coinage of this date a realistic alternative to the rare business strikes, since a mere 59 proofs were struck, of which no more than 12-15 pieces are believed to survive. In their gold coin researches, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth found that even the National Numismatic Collection housed in the Smithsonian Institution lacks a business strike example of this historic date. In a numismatic world now hyperfocused on grade, the 1882 calls for deliberate reappraisal, since the minuscule number of survivors assures that even circulated examples are condition rarities.
This coin's fields retain tantalizing traces of their original flash, with the reverse measurably more reflective than the obverse. The strike is sharp and pleasingly bold, but close examination reveals a scattering of small abrasions. The only really large marks can be discovered on the obverse between stars 7 and 8 and below star 13. Scarcity joins with visual appeal to recommend this coin to thoughtful bidders. PCGS population statistics underscore the issue's rarity, with only two pieces achieving the grade of AU53 and seven representing all higher grades (4/12).(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.
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