Elusive Mint State Liberty Head Gold Coins in Baltimore Rarities Night Auction

Stack's Bowers 1852-O $20 Gold Coin

By James McCartney, Numismatist & Cataloger - Stack's Bowers .....
 

Lot 3133 in our Rarities Night Session of our March 2017 Baltimore Auction will spotlight a gorgeous MS-60 (PCGS) CAC example of the 1852-O double eagle, struck just two years after the introduction of the denomination to American commerce.

The 1852-O double eagle is in perpetual demand by collectors seeking a representative from our southernmost mint. Just 190,000 examples were struck and saw extensive circulation, resulting in perhaps fewer than 1,000 coins surviving today. A considerable condition rarity, just over a dozen distinct pieces remain in Mint State, including the present delightful example. Delivering both exceptional eye appeal and superlative technical preservation, this piece is sure to please even the most fastidious enthusiast.

A vibrant display of saffron-yellow hues paints this exceptional Uncirculated survivor. The fields are delicately prooflike on each side, balancing moderate reflectivity with otherwise satiny luster. The central elements remain nicely frosted and well composed across even the most prominent regions, with a matte-like texture visible in the intricacies of Liberty's portrait. There is just the lightest evidence of contact scattered about the fields. A single shallow mark near the curl high on Liberty's cheek is the only imperfection of note across either side of this beautiful double eagle. A characteristic softness is visible to Liberty's lower curls, though the overall definition is bold and pleasing for the issue.

Lot 3118 of our Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo offers a seldom seen Uncirculated 1854-S Liberty eagle.

1854 represents the first year of coinage at the San Francisco Mint, and a sizable quantity of 123,826 eagles was struck. As a result, the 1854-S issue remains relatively available in today's market. However, Uncirculated examples are incredibly rare, as the vast majority of this mintage saw extensive circulation through the American West. PCGS and NGC have a combined population of just 12 Mint State examples topping out at MS-62. Those figures are undoubtedly inflated by resubmissions. PCGS CoinFacts suggests that as few as four distinct Mint State examples remain, emphasizing the significance of the offered piece.

The offered coin is truly handsome and has rich medium-gold surfaces with subtle scattered pinkish accents. The strike is uniform and bold, with some minor definition lost to lapping across the obverse. Bountiful satiny luster is distributed across virtually every region. A thin scratch can be seen horizontally in the left obverse field below Liberty's chin, although this does little to distract the naked eye. Scrutiny reveals a pair of blemishes at 12 and six o'clock on the reverse border, each of a similar texture. This is an important bidding opportunity for enthusiasts of western gold.

These lovely gold coins will be featured among other rarities in our March 2017 Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo, featuring the Blue Moon Collection and sold in conjunction with the D. Brent Pogue Collection Part V. To secure your copies of these exciting catalogs, please contact our offices today at 1-800-458-4646.
 

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