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    1860-O Twenty Dollar Liberty, MS61
    Supremely Challenging O-Mint Issue
    Finest-Certified Example

    1860-O $20 MS61 NGC. After the San Francisco Mint opened in 1854, most of the bullion from the California gold fields went to that facility for coinage and bullion deposits dropped precipitously at the New Orleans Mint. Accordingly, only small mintages of double eagles were turned out at the New Orleans Mint after that time. Only 6,600 O-mint Liberty double eagles were coined in 1860, the third-smallest production total of the New Orleans series. The coins were all released into circulation at the time of issue and circulated widely in domestic and overseas trade. It is doubtful that any coins were saved by contemporary collectors, as there was little numismatic interest in high-denomination gold coins in general, and branch mint issues in particular. As might be expected, the 1860-O is extremely rare in high grade today. Only two specimens have been certified in Mint State grades, both at NGC. One is the MS60 Prooflike example that was recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Republic. The other is the present coin, graded MS61 by NGC.

    Collecting double eagles did not become popular in this country until after the Gold Recall of 1933, because the high face value of each coin made setting aside a comprehensive date run of twenties too expensive for all but the most affluent collectors. The 1860-O began appearing at auction soon after the presidential order took effect, however, with a typical offering in the General Walter D. McCaw and Other Collections (Thomas Elder, 1/1934), lot 2250:

    "1860. $20. New Orleans Mint. Extremely fine. A very rare coin with a very small coinage and next to last year at this mint."

    The present coin is the finest-certified example of this elusive O-mint date. The design elements are much sharper than the norm for the issue, which is known as something of a strike rarity. Liberty's hair is unusually sharp on this piece and only star 3 shows slight softness on the obverse. The reverse devices are sharply rendered throughout. Like many examples seen, the yellow-gold surfaces display much prooflike reflectivity in the fields and show the expected number of minor contact marks for the grade. The overall presentation is most attractive. This coin boasts the highest available technical quality, strong historic interest, and absolute rarity. We anticipate a record price, since there is no finer 1860-O double eagle that has appeared at public auction, nor is there any finer specimen indicated in any reference. Census: 1 in 61, 0 finer (6/18).(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 269E, PCGS# 8930)

    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
    July, 2018
    12th-15th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,809

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