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    1870-CC Twenty Dollar, XF40
    Only 55-65 Pieces Known in All Grades
    Newly Discovered Example
    Pedigreed to the 1870s

    1870-CC $20 XF40 PCGS. Variety 1-A. Only two die pairs were used to strike the 3,789 double eagles from this inaugural year for the Carson City mint. There is no substantial difference in rarity between the two varieties. In all grades, it is estimated that only 55-65 examples remain of the 1870-CC twenty, and of that number a mere 30-39 pieces are known in XF-AU condition, none are known in mint condition.

    As Rusty Goe points out in his recent The Confident Carson City Collector, the price history of the 1870-CC is worthy of review. Rusty traces the price history at auction for this issue over the past 80 years. It is instructive, though, to look even further back in time to see that 110 years ago the 1870-CC brought only a 10% premium at auction over face value. This indicates that, contrary to popular opinion, mintmark collecting did not catch on widely with high-denomination coins immediately after Augustus Heaton published Mintmarks in 1893. For a rare issue such as the 1870-CC twenty it took decades for the "novelty" of a rare mintmarked issue to catch on with the collecting public. Once it did, however, prices at auction steadily increased. In the mid-1940s, prices were ten times what they had been 30 years before. By the mid to late-1970s auction prices increased another tenfold to the $17,000 to $29,500 range. Today XF-AU examples have increased another tenfold with pieces valued between $235,000 and $500,000.

    But this is not just another 1870-CC twenty. This is a coin with a story, a story that has been known and passed down through the same family along with the coin through five generations of owners. Curiously, it is a story that is, at least in the earliest days of ownership, intertwined with a Mormon family. A two-page history of the coin and the family's history accompanies the lot and we will scan and reproduce this history for all to read on our website. Among the more noteworthy passages in the coin's history are the following three paragraphs:

    "Hirum and other members [of] the the Cutlerite group, hunted wild game, trapped fur animals and sold pelts to Chippewa and Sioux traders. It is entirely possible that the $20 gold piece came from that activity since the Sioux were the primary trading group between Minnesota and Nevada.

    "Hirum also made brooms, rented out rooms in his house to travelers and raised cattle and sheep from 1865 to the 1890s.

    "Hirum, Rachel and their children were desperately poor during the 1865-1880 period and the story is that Hirum acquired the $20 gold piece at a time when he and Rachel did not have enough money to buy shoes for all their children and food was scarce. He was roundly criticized at the time for such an extravagance."

    That last passage reveals something many in numismatics usually do not want to talk about, how some collectors have actually suffered and made their family suffer, or at least do without modern conveniences, for the sake of building their collections. Somehow this particular 1870-CC twenty has managed to be passed down through five generations of the same family; which also means it has been completely unknown to collectors since mintmark collecting has been in existence.

    Even wear is seen over the devices and the coin has a well-balanced appearance from side to side. The surfaces are bright, but show a thin outline of russet patina surrounding the devices. Each side is minimally abraded, with the most distinctive mark for pedigree purposes being a mark just above the coronet, between stars 6 and 7. While it is a commonplace to call a coin a "once in a lifetime opportunity," it is certain that few if any 1870-CC twenties will appear on the market in the future with the pedigree similar to this particular coin.
    Acquired by Hirum Murdock in the 1870s in north-central Minnesota; to Lois Murdock Whiting of Battle Lake, Minnesota; to Raymond Arthur Whiting of Council Bluffs, Iowa; to Biloine Whiting Young of St. Paul, Minnesota; to Scott Thomas Young of Apple Valley, Minnesota.(Registry values: N10218)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26A8, PCGS# 8958)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    The Confident Carson City Coin Collector
    by Rusty Goe

    The Carson City Mint’s celebrated legacy — replete with landmark achievements, setbacks, mysteries and tall tales — is covered in exacting detail in Goe’s three-volume set.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2021
    7th-10th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 42
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,126

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

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