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Coin Profiles: The Eliasberg 1858-O $20.00 Gold Double Eagle

By Doug Winter –

I’d like to share a photo and some information about a really interesting coin that I recently bought and sold. It’s a lovely 1858-O double eagle, graded AU55 by PCGS. What makes this coin really special, in my opinion, is its fantastic pedigree. To the best of my knowledge it has the oldest continual pedigree of any 1858-O double eagle, and certainly the best.

The 1858-O is the 8th rarest of 13 double eagles produced at the New Orleans mint. You’d think this meant it was a common coin, but this is far from the case. There are an estimated 200 or so known with most in the EF40 to AU50 range. This date becomes quite rare in the medium to higher AU grades and it is extremely rare in Uncirculated with just six or seven known to me.

The finest known 1858-O double eagle is a PCGS MS62 owned by a prominent Midwestern collector. It came from the Bass III sale (May 2000) where it sold for $50,600. Harry Bass obtained it from the Merkin 10/66 sale.

There were four Uncirculated 1858-O double eagles found in the S.S. Republic treasure and this swelled the number of Uncirculated examples. The best of these four was an MS63 (graded by NGC).

I love the freshness of this coin and I think a quick study of it will prove helpful to rare gold coin collectors. It has wonderful soft, frosty luster, and pleasing natural yellow-gold coloration on the obverse and the reverse. This coloration is exactly “right” for the issue and the few 1858-O double eagles that I have seen that haven’t been dipped or processed displayed a similar hue.

This date is not generally seen with a sharp strike and this example is about as well detailed as any I can recall. Note the full radial lines in the obverse stars and the nearly complete detail on Liberty’s hair. In both instances, this is very unusual.

The surfaces of this coin are clean for the grade. There are a few scattered scuffs in the fields, which is to be expected from an AU55. That said, I think this coin is as clean as other Type One double eagles that I have seen in AU58 holders.

This coin last appeared as Lot 1948 in Stack’s November 2009 auction where it sold for $27,600. Before this it was in the October 1982 Eliasberg sale where it brought $2,640. It was obtained by Eliasberg in the famous Max Mehl June 1946 sale of the Atwater collector where it realized $105.

The Eliasberg 1858-O double eagle is now owned by a Southern collector who specializes in New Orleans gold coinage. He already owns a number of impressive New Orleans double eagles, but I’m willing to bet that this coin will become one of his favorites.

Are you interested in adding coins like the Eliasberg 1858-O double eagle to your collection? If so, please feel free to speak to me at 214-675-9897 and let me know how I can be of assistance to you and your collection.

Doug Winter
Doug Winter
Doug Winter founded Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN) in 1985. The nationally renowned firm specializes in buying and selling rare United States gold coins. He has written over a dozen books, including the standard references on Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans gold coinage, and Type 1 Liberty Head Double Eagles. Douglas has also contributed to the A Guidebook of United States Coins, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars, and Andrew Pollock’s United States Pattern and Related Issues. He is a member of the PNG, the ANA, the ANS, the NLG, CAC, PCGS, and NGC - among other professional affiliations. Contact Doug Winter at [email protected].

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