1861-O $20 MS (PCGS# 8934)

The August 2011 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Auction

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Lot Description
New Orleans Mint double eagles of any date seldom possess the strong eye appeal that we note for this CAC verified '61-O. Instead of heavily abraded surfaces, both sides of this piece reveal only wispy handling marks that are largely free of individually mentionable distractions.&nbsp;Additional strong suits include warm, even, olive-orange color and bold to sharp definition to most features. A touch of glossiness to the texture is easily overlooked, such is the superior appearance of this key date twenty.<br /> The 1861-O is the final New Orleans Mint double eagle of the Type I design, and the last coin of this denomination struck in that facility prior to 1879. The secession of Louisiana from the Union and the subsequent seizure of the New Orleans Mint by Confederate forces at the onset of the Civil War created a chaotic situation for the 1861-O double eagle. Examples were actually struck under authority of three different governments:<br /> United States: 5,000 coins struck January 1-26, 1861<br /> State of Louisiana: 9,750 pieces struck January 26-March 31, 1861<br /> Confederate States: 2,991 coins struck April 1-30, 1861<br /> Although it is impossible for tell for certain, it seems that the coins struck under authority of the Southern Confederacy are those that display a strong date with an obverse die crack from the rim at star 2 to Liberty's chin. The coin we offer here, without the aforementioned crack and the bottoms of the digits in the date weak, is probably attributable to the United States or Louisiana state governments.<br /> The 1861-O as an issue is a scarce find in all grades, the total extant population probably numbering no more than 175 coins. It is the seventh rarest of 13 dates in the New Orleans Mint double eagle series.<br /> <strong>Numismatic Reflections by Q. David Bowers<br /> </strong>This is one of two examples of this popular and quite elusive Liberty Head double eagle offered in our Rarities Night sale. The mintage was low and at a
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