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    1886 Double Eagle, AU55
    Major Type Three Philadelphia Rarity
    Essential for a Complete Date Set

    1886 $20 AU55 PCGS. CAC. The upset in the United States monetary system that accompanied the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 finally settled by 1879, when gold coins became exchangeable on par with federal paper notes. The Treasury Department anticipated an initial frenzy from the public when this "hard money" became available, but with gold so long absent (for the most part) from circulation, the public had by this time become accustomed to the use of paper currencies, and such a frenzy never materialized. Large denomination gold coins did circulate to a measurable extent in the far West and Rocky Mountain regions, but only to a limited degree in the Eastern states. This ultimately resulted in the Treasury and various banks having little need for new coinage, particularly in the East, which is seen in the limited double eagle mintages accomplished during the early to mid-1880s at Philadelphia.

    Moreover, the Mint Director's annual report for the fiscal year ending June 1887, revealed that imports of United States gold coins (returning from foreign trade) had in that year amounted to significantly more volume than had new exports of the same ($5.8 million versus $3.5 million). The bulk of these coins had to be absorbed by the Treasury and the banks, and this dissolved any need for additional double eagle coinage in Philadelphia in 1887; furthermore, that year's coinage in San Francisco was likewise reduced to just 283,000 coins.

    Of the low-mintage Philadelphia double eagles that characterize the period from 1880 through 1887, the 1886 is arguably the most important. Only 1,000 pieces were produced, which were in turn distributed into the banking system. Most of the coins ultimately found their way into circulation and either received modest wear or were completely lost, either through exportation or normal attrition. The 1886 twenty is rarer overall than the lower-mintage 1885, and collector demand is also significantly higher. Unlike the 1885, which is supplemented by a coinage of 683,500 S-mint coins of the same year, the 1886 stands alone as the only double eagle issue of this year available to collectors seeking to complete a date set of Liberty twenties.

    No more than 40 to 60 coins are believed to survive. PCGS and NGC combined have seen 55 submissions of this date in all grades, with the majority XF or AU; Mint State coins are prohibitively rare and proportionately expensive if offered for sale. Even the Smithsonian Institution does not contain a circulation strike example of this date. The current offering is a luminous Choice AU example, with warm honey-gold color and remnants of semiprooflike mirroring in the fields. A trace of friction is almost inconsequential, leaving the sharp motifs well-detailed. Both sides show mild chatter, not uncommon for the grade. Population: 5 in 55, 7 finer (2/15).
    From The Big Sky Collection.(Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26BR, PCGS# 9006)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Big Sky Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    22nd-26th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,368

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    17.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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