1861-O $20 MS (PCGS# 8934)

The August 2010 Boston Rarities Sale

  • Auctioneer:
    Bowers & Merena
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Lot Description
1861-O Liberty Double Eagle. Winter Variety One, the only known dies. Die State I. AU-50 (NGC). The extreme popularity of the 1861-O among advanced collectors of both New Orleans Mint gold coinage and Liberty Double Eagles is well known in numismatic circles and stems from two important characteristics of this issue. First, the 1861-O is a very scarce-to-rare coin in all grades with Doug Winter (<em>Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909</em>, 2006 edition) allowing for only 135-165 survivors from a mintage of 17,741 pieces. The author uses this estimate to rank the 1861-O seventh in rarity among the 13 New Orleans Mint issues in the Liberty Double Eagle series, ahead of the 1850-O, 1851-O, 1852-O, 1853-O, 1857-O and 1858-O.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Second, the original mintage for the 1861-O comprises coins that were struck under three different governments--a unique occurrence in the Liberty Double Eagle series and a circumstance that has affected few other issues in the entire U.S. gold coin series. Again per Doug Winter in the 2006 edition of his book on New Orleans Mint gold coinage, the mintage for the 1861-O can be divided as follows:<br /> <br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;-January 1-26, 1861: 5,000 coins struck under the authority of the United States of America<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;-January 26-March 31, 1861: 9,750 coins struck under the authority of the State of Louisiana after it seceded from the Union and took over control of the New Orleans Mint<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;-April 1-30, 1861: 2,991 coins struck under the authority of the Confederate States of America after Louisiana joined the Southern Confederacy<br /> <br /> Production of the 1861-O
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