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    1854-O Liberty Double Eagle, XF45
    Classic Branch Mint Rarity
    25 Examples Traced

    1854-O $20 XF45 PCGS. CAC. Variety 1. Gold deposits declined dramatically at the New Orleans Mint in 1854, due to the opening of the San Francisco Mint that year. The new West Coast facility was more conveniently located in regard to the California gold fields and absorbed much of the output from the mines that had been shipped to New Orleans in previous years. As a result, only 3,250 Liberty double eagles were struck at the New Orleans Mint in 1854. As might be expected, the 1854-O Liberty double eagle is an elusive issue today. The 1854-O is virtually tied with the 1856-O as the rarest double eagle from the New Orleans Mint. PCGS and NGC have combined to certify 35 coins between them, including an unknown number of crossovers and resubmissions. We have only been able to trace 25 examples of the 1854-O in our roster below, including the present coin, which seems to be a new discovery.

    In addition to its absolute rarity, the 1854-O is unknown in Mint State grades. There was little numismatic interest in branch mint issues in general, and double eagles in particular, in the 1850s. The large denomination gold coins were too expensive for all but the wealthiest collectors to set aside in those days, when 20 dollars represented a significant amount of purchase power. The few well-heeled numismatists who did systematically collect double eagles preferred to update their date runs by purchasing a proof example from the Philadelphia Mint every year. The entire mintage of New Orleans double eagles was released into circulation in 1854 and no high-grade specimens were saved by contemporary collectors. After the Gold Recall of 1933, some enterprising financiers, like Louis Eliasberg and Charles W. Green, realized that collecting large denomination gold coins was one of the few legal opportunities to include significant holdings of gold in their investment portfolios in this country. This sparked a new interest in collecting double eagles but, by then, every survivor from the 1854 New Orleans mintage showed some degree of wear. Most examples seen are in the XF-lower AU grade range.

    The 1854-O began appearing at auction at least as early as lot 1124 of the Nickerson-Butler-Edwards Collections (Thomas Elder, 12/1933):

    "1854 New Orleans. Don't believe we ever had it before. It has a sale record of $200. Very fine. Unpriced in Raymond's book."

    The $200 record price was a considerable sum at the time, but it pales to insignificance compared to modern auction records. Recent sales of the 1854-O include the XF Details NGC coin in lot 5515 of the FUN signature (Heritage, 1/2014), that realized $282,000.

    The present coin is an impressive Choice XF specimen that shows only light wear on the strongly impressed design elements. The pleasing orange-gold surfaces retain some traces of original mint luster and show the typical number of minor abrasions for the issue. Some diagnostic raised die lumps are evident at TY in LIBERTY and a small die dot is seen near the largest curl on Liberty's neck. The overall presentation is most attractive for this sought-after double eagle rarity. The 1854-O Liberty double eagle is listed among the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins. This coin is pictured on PCGS CoinFacts. Population: 2 in 45, 10 finer. CAC: 1 in 45, 0 finer (3/21).

    Roster of 1854-O Liberty Double Eagles

    The following roster was compiled with the assistance of Ron Guth, P. Scott Rubin, and Saul Teichman.
    1. AU58 NGC.
    Gilhousen Collection (Superior, 2/1973), lot 854; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bass Collection (Bowers and Merena, 5/2000), lot 780; San Francisco Signature (Heritage, 7/2005), lot 10397.
    2. AU58 NGC.
    Auction '79 (Stack's, 7/1979), lot 934; ANA Building Fund Sale (Steve Ivy, 12/1981), lot 1560; Superior (2/1992), lot 2938; Superior (1/1993), lot 1484; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2002), lot 4011; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 3087.
    3. AU58 NGC.
    Recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Republic; Monaco Rare Coins (privately, 2004); private collection.
    4. AU58 PCGS.
    Cicero Collection (New Netherlands, 12/1960), lot 8; H. Jeff Browning; Dallas Bank Collection (Sotheby's/Stack's, 10/2001), lot 10; Hansen Collection.
    5. AU55 NGC.
    Chicago Signature (Heritage, 8/2015), lot 4449; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2016), lot 4815.
    6. AU55 PCGS.
    Robert Marks Collection (American Auction Association, 11/1972), lot 1056; James and Margaret Carter Collection (Stack's, 3/1986), lot 528; Auction '88 (David Akers, 7/1988), lot 974; Cincinnati Collection (Heritage, 1/2005), lot 8829; Pittsburgh Signature (Heritage, 10/2011), lot 5099; Central States Signature Sale (Heritage, 4/2014), lot 5793, realized $362,500.
    7. AU55 PCGS.
    Lester Merkin (10/1966), lot 372; Stack's (3/1990), lot 1362; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2001), lot 7079; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 8/2007), lot 1906; Dallas Signature (Heritage, 10/2008), lot 3012, realized a record $603,750; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5246.
    8. AU55 PCGS.
    Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 7/2004), lot 2246; Rarities Sale (Bowers, 8/2010), lot 1818.
    9. AU55 NGC.
    Bowers and Ruddy (6/1975), lot 1129; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 6/2014), lot 4897, realized $381,875.
    10. AU53 NGC.
    Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/1994), lot 5521; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/1999), lot 8414; Pre-Long Beach Sale (Goldberg Auctions, 2/2017), lot 1337.
    11. AU53 PCGS.
    A specimen pictured on PCGS CoinFacts website that cannot be plate matched to any appearance on this roster.
    12. AU50 PCGS
    . Alex Shuford Collection (Abe Kosoff, 5/1968), lot 2412; John Jay Pittman; Pittman Collection, Part I (David Akers, 10/1997), lot 1128; Superior (6/1998), lot 2361; ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2014), lot 5686, realized $329,000.
    13. AU50 PCGS.
    William Van Roden Collection (Stack's, 5/1968), lot 910; Eugene Detmer Collection (Stack's, 2/1983), lot 1078; Auction '89 (RARCOA, 7/1989), lot 450; Denver Signature (Heritage, 8/2006), lot 5592; Baltimore Auction (Bowers and Merena, 11/2007), lot 4668; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2015), lot 5424.
    14. AU50 PCGS.
    Amon Carter Collection (1/1984), lot 841; ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/1997), lot 7821; Mid-Winter ANA Signature (Heritage, 3/1998), lot 6507; Superior (9/1998), lot 2227; California Sale (Goldberg Auctions, 10/2000), lot 1142; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 7239.
    15. AU50 PCGS.
    Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 6/1979), lot 586; DEA and U.S. Marshals Service Sale (Heritage, 12/1988), lot 1370; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2003), lot 4873.
    16. AU50.
    Louis Eliasberg, Sr.; United States Gold Coin Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot 883.
    17. AU50.
    R.L. Miles, Jr. (Stack's, 10/1968), lot 833; James and Margaret Carter Collection (Stack's, 1/1986), lot 408.
    18. AU50.
    ANA Convention Auction (Paramount, 8/1974), lot 967; ANA Convention Auction (New England Rare Coin Auctions, 7/1979), lot 427; King of Siam Sale (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), lot 2011; Charles Kramer Collection (Superior/Stack's, 11/1988), lot 730; Auction '90 (David Akers, 8/1990), lot 1947; James E. Haldan Collection (Sotheby's, 6/1996), lot 136; Americana Sale (Stack's, 1/2008), lot 9111.
    19. AU50.
    Josiah K. Lilly Collection; Smithsonian Institution.
    20. XF45 PCGS. CAC.
    Recently discovered example. The present coin.
    21. XF45 NGC.
    From an old family collection, off the market for many years; Dallas Signature (Heritage, 3/2018), lot 3192, realized $204,000; Rarities Night (Stack's Bowers, 11/2019), lot 3187.
    22. XF40 PCGS.
    Peter J. Schemenauer Estate (Bowers and Merena, 7/2005), lot 2721.
    23. XF Details Cleaned NGC
    . Mann and Smedley Collections (Bowers and Merena, 9/1988), lot 549; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2014), lot 5515.
    24. VF30 PCGS
    . Two sisters with roots in Tennessee; Eldorado Sale (Stack's, 5/2009), lot 158; ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/2019), lot 3921.
    25. XF Details Cleaned Net VF30 ANACS.
    Bell Collection (RARCOA, 4/1963), lot 843; Tollett and Pryor Collections (Stack's, 4/1971), lot 884; James and Margaret Carter Collection (Stack's, 3/1986), lot 529; James A. Stack Collection (Stack's, 11/1989), lot 1494; Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 1/1999), lot 1467; Houston Signature (Heritage, 12/2008), lot 2244.

    Additional Auction Appearances

    (Catalogs not available for comparison or lacking sufficient detail for plate matching.)
    Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 1/2010), lot 829.
    ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/1998), lot 5733.
    Bullet Sale (Heritage, 4/1990), lot 596.
    Ronald Kessler Collection (Sotheby's, 3/1990), lot 374.
    Central States Auction (RARCOA, 4/1976), lot 420.
    Public Auction Sale (Abner Kreisberg, 6/1969), lot 1127.
    Arrowhead Collection (Sotheby's, 5/1987), lot 345.
    Pacific Collection (Hughes, 2/1978), lot 1378.
    Public Auction Sale (Abner Kreisberg, 1/1970), lot 1935.
    Fontani Collection (Kreisberg and Schulman, 3/1965), lot 182.
    Baldenhofer Collection (Stack's, 11/1955), lot 1511.
    Waldo Newcomer, inventory number 973; Colonel E.H.R. Green, via B. Max Mehl, circa 1931; King Farouk, via Stack's; Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby's, 2/1954), lot 180; Abe Kosoff.
    Stephen Allen Collection (Stack's, 12/1950), lot 110.
    Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 1955.
    Dr. Charles W. Green (B. Max Mehl, 4/1949), lot 806.
    Memorable Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 3/1948), lot 759.
    Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 12/1947), lot 579.
    Public Auction Sale (Hollinbeck Coin Co., 11/1947), lot 10.
    Lee Collection (Stack's, 10/1947), lot 1775.
    William Cutler Atwater, before 1923; Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1336.
    F.C.C. Boyd (World's Greatest Collection, Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946), lot 938.
    J.F. Bell Collection (Stack's, 12/1944), lot 897.
    444th Sale (J.C. Morgenthau, 6/1940), lot 68.
    399th Sale (J.C. Morgenthau, 5/1939), lot 452.
    Wheeler-Norton Collections (Thomas Elder, 9/1938), lot 1529.
    356th Sale (J.C. Morgenthau, 12/1935), lot 237.
    McCaw-Bauer-Leech Collections (Thomas Elder, 1/1934), lot 1204.
    Nickerson-Butler-Edwards Collections (Thomas Elder, 12/1933), lot 1124.
    From The Cameron Collection. (Registry values: N10218)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 268T, PCGS# 8912)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View all of [The Cameron Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 28
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,146

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