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    1870-CC Double Eagle, AU50
    First-Year-of-Issue, Extreme Carson City Rarity
    Only Auction Appearance of This Coin in Nearly 30 Years

    1870-CC $20 AU50 PCGS. Variety 1-A. The Comstock Lode provided the necessary impetus to open a new Mint in Carson City, Nevada -- capital of the Territory -- just fifteen miles distant from the silver and gold deposits needed to make the venture viable. Unhardened dies were shipped from Philadelphia to Carson City in October, 1869 to prepare for the initial production of coins. However, little bullion was on hand to commence operations. In early January, the first mintage of silver dollars was achieved, followed by limited quantities of gold eagles and half eagles. On March 10, 1870 the first delivery of 1870-CC double eagles was accomplished to the tune of 1,332 coins.

    The newly-minted coins immediately entered circulation, followed by another 2,457 double eagles later in the year for a total mintage of just 3,789 coins. All entered channels of commerce -- there was no collector demand for CC-Mint coins (or for any mintmarked coins, for that matter) and the issue was not recognized as a rarity until many years later. As a result, no Uncirculated 1870-CC double eagles are known to this day.

    Just 35 to 45 examples are thought to exist, although estimates vary. Rusty Goe thinks as many as 55 to 65 coins may survive, most of which were poorly produced by the inexperienced Mint. Many show evidence of cleanings, heavy abrasions, or severe scrapes and scratches. Most coins suffer a combination of all the maladies to one extent or another.

    This AU50 example resides in an earlier generation blue label holder and compares favorably with the finest-known coins in the current roster of the issue. There are, of course, small abrasions as typical for the first-year twenties from rough handling and transport. There are no heavy marks of any kind, though, and it is difficult to isolate a single "pedigree marker" deep or noticeable enough to be individually significant.

    Wonderful, orange-gold patina attests to the obvious originality of the coin. The strike is soft on all examples of the Carson City date, especially on the star centers, but the current coin is at least the equal of any other known representative of the issue. Considerable luster remains over the surfaces, with prooflike flash in virtually all of the protected areas. It would not be hard to imagine this example inching up the grading scale based on its overall quality and eye appeal compared to the other high-grade coins. The only known previous auction appearance for this coin is a January, 1985 Stack's sale of Selections from the Estate of Joseph Bellini and other consignments. No information in the catalog links the coin specifically to the Bellini estate or any other collection.

    Roster of High-Grade 1870-CC Double Eagles
    1. AU58 NGC. The finest-known specimen, recently discovered and shortly thereafter stolen during a Brinks transport on October 19, 2011. Unrecovered.
    2. AU55 NGC. Baltimore Auction (Bowers and Merena, 3/2009), lot 3909, realized $414,000.
    3. AU53 PCGS. Doug Winter; Nevada collection; Universal Coin and Bullion; Isaac Edmunds Collection (Bowers and Merena, 6/2002), lot 2371; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 3129, realized $368,000; Bently Collection (Heritage, 3/2014), lot 30435, realized $411,250.
    4. AU53 NGC. Denver Signature (Heritage, 8/2006), lot 5645, realized $359,375; Philadelphia ANA Sale (Stack's Bowers, 8/2012), lot 11039, realized $345,000.
    5. AU53 NGC. Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2003), lot 8296; Pre-Long Beach Sale (Ira and Larry Goldberg, 5/2010), lot 1712; Chicago ANA Sale (Stack's Bowers, 8/2011), lot 7762.
    6. AU50 PCGS. This piece matches none of the other coins on the roster. Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 1/1985), lot 1118; private collection. The present coin.
    7. AU50 PCGS.
    Lee Minshull and Casey Noxon; James E. Haldan Collection (Sotheby's, 6/1996), lot 146; Universal Coin & Bullion; private collection; CSNS Signature (Heritage, 4/2014), lot 5821, realized $305,500.
    8. AU50 PCGS. FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2014), lot 5541, realized $329,000.
    9. AU50 PCGS. Classics Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 1/2004), lot 546.
    10. AU50 NGC. Richmond Collection (David Lawrence, 7/2004), lot 2288.
    11. AU50 Cleaned, Uncertified. Baltimore Auction (Bowers and Merena, 2/2008), lot 2749.
    12. AU50 Details ANACS. New York Signature (Heritage, 2/2014), lot 5418, realized $164,500.
    (Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 2542, PCGS# 8958)

    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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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2014
    4th-7th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,282

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