Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
includes Buyer's Premium (BP) 

    Description

    Extremely Rare 1853 U.S. Assay Office Twenty, .884 Thous., MS63
    Single Finest at PCGS and Tied for Finest Certified

    1853 $20 Assay Office Twenty Dollar, 884 Thous. MS63 PCGS. K-17, Low R.7. Nitric acid and sulfuric acid are among the few known chemical substances that can dissolve gold, or "part" it from the various alloys with which it is normally bonded when found in its natural state. The lack of parting acids was a chronic problem both for the U.S. Assay Office of Gold, as well as later for the fledgling San Francisco Mint.
    In October 1852 the San Francisco customs collector received a letter from the Treasury Department, essentially telling him to accept only U.S. federal gold coins that conformed to the Mint Act of June 25, 1834--.900 fine gold. California gold coins of any other standard were essentially devalued, as they were of lesser commercial utility. The concern in Washington was that nonconforming gold coins would enter world commerce, damaging U.S. prestige overseas. In reality, the Assay Office pieces of lesser fineness were actually compensated by assayer Augustus Humbert with an increased weight--a fact that the Washington insiders likely did not know.
    The local merchants met with the customs collector, absolving him of personal responsibility so he could accept .900 fine coins without the proper copper alloy mix, something that was essentially unproducible in California at the time.
    But the parting acids were on backorder, and Humbert made the decision to strike emergency ten and twenty dollar pieces, first with the .880 fineness and then with the .884 fineness, as Kagin says "in total defiance of the August 31, 1852, law. [Humbert] hesitated as long as possible, and then commenced striking the lower fineness coins from February 23 to March 1, 1853. The new parting acids arrived before too many pieces were struck and immediately the .884 THOUS. pieces on hand were remelted and coined into .900 THOUS. coins."
    That remelting accounts for the extreme rarity of the few .884 THOUS. survivors, and the present piece is not only the single finest certified at PCGS, it is one of only three Mint State pieces graded at that service (12/07) along with one MS60 and one MS62 piece. NGC has certified seven pieces, the finest also an MS63. The surfaces are a deep greenish-gold, with a somewhat prooflike appearance and numerous small contact marks consistent with the grade. This coin presents a fine opportunity for some fortunate collector to obtain what is--barring the fifty dollar slugs--the rarest of the U.S. Assay Office pieces. Listed on page 355 of the 2008 Guide Book. (NGC ID# ANHC, PCGS# 10010)


    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  | PCGS Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2008
    9th-12th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,109

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 31 days left to consign to the 2017 June 7 - 12 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach!

    Learn about consigning with us

    With all these; friendly people, highly professional staff, superb web site makes you a winner.
    V.M.C,
    San Leandro, CA
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2017 February 16 - 19 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    2017 February 16 - 19 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach
    REALIZED $11,086,652
    2017 January 17 - 18 World Coins Signature Internet Auction - Dallas
    2017 January 17 - 18 World Coins Signature Internet Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $2,407,750
    2017 January 5 - 9 FUN World Currency Signature Auction -
    2017 January 5 - 9 FUN World Currency Signature Auction -
    REALIZED $1,283,993