Bright 1891-CC Twenty, MS62
1891-CC $20 MS62 NGC. Variety 1-A. The only known variety
for the issue. The Carson City Mint was actively engaged in
producing eagles and half eagles in 1891, and the storied facility
could spare the resources for only a token mintage of double
eagles. To quote Doug Winter in Gold Coins of the Carson City
Low-Mintage Issue in High Grade
"Unlike the Carson City half eagles and eagles of this date, the 1891-CC double eagle is a rare, low mintage issue. In fact, its original production of just 5,000 pieces is the second lowest for any Carson City double eagle, trailing only the 1870-CC."
Winter estimates a surviving population of 150-200 pieces for the issue, with only 10-15 survivors in Mint State. Most examples seen are in circulated grades, and any MS62 graded coin would be a candidate for Condition Census. To date, NGC has certified 10 examples in MS62, with only one finer; PCGS has graded four specimens in this grade, with a single piece finer (6/10).
Collecting mintmarked coins in general, and double eagles in particular, was unpopular with collectors of the early 1890s. As a result, 1891-CC twenties are seldom encountered in auction catalogs of the period. While collecting large-denomination gold coins did not become popular until the 1940s, the rarity and desirability of the 1891-CC caused a few examples to be showcased in earlier offerings. One such appearance was in the Wendell C. Foster Collection (Thomas Elder, 6/1935), lot 2659, "1891. C.C. Mint. Fine. One of the rarest of this mint. Only 5,000 struck." Elder featured an unusual number of double eagles in his auction catalogs of the mid-1930s, most of them originally surfacing in the famous Baltimore Hoard.
The present coin is an attractive specimen with bright, glittering mint luster and semiprooflike fields. The pleasing orange-gold surfaces are accented with streaks of copper color on the reverse. Strike details are sharp, except for some incomplete obverse star radials. The surfaces are lightly abraded for the grade, with no large or detracting marks.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26C3, PCGS# 9017)
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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