1860 $20 MS (PCGS# 8929)

LB Signature Sale #416

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1860 $20 MS65 NGC. Ex: S.S. Republic. In 2003 and 2004 the numismatic media and other broader news vehicles, including National Geographic Ultimate Explorer and Dateline NBC, carried the story of the recovery of the shipwreck S.S. Republic by personnel of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. The Republic foundered on Oct. 25, 1865, off the coast of Georgia in a raging hurricane, with 90 passengers and crew, carrying about $400,000 face value in U.S. coinage. The steam paddlewheeler was on her way to New Orleans with a cargo of coins and other supplies destined to aid post-Civil War Reconstruction. Odyssey Marine Exploration, based in Tampa, Florida, is a public company founded in 1994 and a leader in the field of deep-sea exploration and recovery. A news release issued by the company on Jan. 27, 2004, included this information: "To date, more than 17,000 coins, with a total face value of $54,500 (approximately 14,230 silver and 2,950 gold coins) and over 750 other artifacts have been recovered. ..." (Updated figures are available from the Odyssey website.) The mix of coins recovered is both interesting and surprising, for silver coinage was elusive and seldom seen in circulation during that era. The many eagles and double eagles recovered included various dates and mintmarks from the 1840s and 1850s onward--but of course nothing dated later than 1865. The present Gem specimen of the 1860 is encapsulated in a special NGC slab with a purple border, with the date and denomination on one line and SS REPUBLIC on a second line below. The third line, of course, contains the MS65 grade. While as of this writing NGC has graded 89 examples of the S.S. Republic 1860 double eagles in all grades, this is the single finest and only Gem example among those pieces. The surfaces are incredibly attractive and radiantly lustrous,with light yellow-gold color. The reverse is near-pristine, and only a single nick on Liberty's chin requires mention on the obverse. This coin represents a seldo
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