Pinnacle Buys San Diego Collection of Twenty Cent Pieces

Pinnacle Rarities has acquired another top PCGS registry set. Pinnacle has purchased the number two Twenty Cent, Circulation Strikes (1875-1876) Registry Set currently listed as the San Diego Collection. The full date set is comprised of a mere four coins. The Professional Coin Grading Service divides collector sets for the Twenty cent coinage removing the uber-rare 1876-CC from the circulating strike listing to make the set more obtainable. Only about a dozen 76-CC examples are known. This set would rank #2 among the “with 76-CC” sets even without this ultra rarity.

The denomination was produced through 1878, but only proof examples were struck in 1877 and 1878. They were only released for circulation for two years making the twenty cent U.S. coin the shortest lived denomination in American history.

From the onset, the twenty cent piece was not popular. It was easily confused with the circulating quarter of the era despite its smaller size, different reverse and lack of reeding in the rims. In fact, it is reported that circulating examples traded as quarters (intentionally or not) into the next century.

The coin was borne from a desire to increase U.S. silver circulating through international commerce channels. John Percival Jones, Senator from Nevada and representative of Comstock Lode miners spearheaded the push for the coinage. During the 1870’s, the French silver franc was widely in use internationally and included a 20/100 valued coin. This French-franc decimal denomination is still in use with a 20/100 Euro example and no “quarter.” The United States was not the only American’s trying to attract international demand for their coinage. Canada and Newfoundland (not yet part of Canada) both produced the denomination during roughly the same period. Interestingly, the denomination was a shorter lived series in those countries too.

A number of patterns were produced in anticipation of the new denomination. However, the Gobrecht’s seated motif was eventually used. The reverse eagle design was by William Barber and is also featured on the reverse of the Trade Dollar minted during the same period. During the series short run, less than 1.4 million examples were produced. Over a million of these were the first year issue 1875-S. With the immediate public distaste, mintages were reduced the following year. By 1877, the Mint had ceased production of circulating strikes, and ordered the Carson City Branch Mint to melt all they had on hand. A number of 1875-CC and nearly the complete mintage of 1876-CC examples were subsequently destroyed creating one of numismatics most treasured rarities. The short-lived nature, the unusual denomination and eventual melting all add to the mystique and allure of the series.

Kathleen Duncan, co-owner of Pinnacle Rarities, Inc. explains, “We were excited to acquire this collection, as some of these dates only surface in these conditions once or twice in a decade. We love these particular examples not only for their rarity factor, but for their exquisite color.”

The San Diego Collection features four wonderful examples, each spectacular in their own right. Finding an original superb example of any date is difficult and the opportunity to study all four together is a rare occasion.

The set is comprised of the following:

  • 1875 PCGS MS66 (36,910) – A sharply executed Philadelphia Mint example with light cameo devices and a pleasing array of blue, plum and maple hues across decidedly crisp obverse fields and devices. The reverse is immaculately clean and sharp with a mix of blue-green and golden/olive hues.
  • 1875-S PCGS MS65+ (1,155,000) – This is an exceptionally clean and crisp twenty cent example. Intense luster is evident throughout with bright blues and greens highlighted with a brilliant golden color. Exquisite eye appeal and technical superiority make this a wonderful type example or the perfect date specimen.
  • 1875-CC PCGS MS65 (133,290) – Surviving the melting pots, this Carson City example is remarkably preserved. Draped in an original patina the gem surfaces of are virtually undisturbed and devoid of contact. The surfaces are graced with rich blue and olive hues throughout with glimpses of iridescent green.
  • 1876 PCGS MS66 (14,640) – Scarce in all grades, this example ranks among the best with a mere three coins having been deemed finer by PCGS. This gorgeous example is lightly draped in an emerald and golden hue with attractive ruby highlights in the margins. Sharply executed and devoid of visible contact this tough date is simply delightful. A rare coin and a rare opportunity to own this elusive date.

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