By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
CoinWeek Content Partner
Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN) recently sold one of the few known Uncirculated 1850-O double eagles. The coin was graded MS60 by PCGS, and it is one of just three examples of this date that have achieved an Uncirculated grade at PCGS. The three coins are two in MS60 and a single coin in MS61. The coin was sold for a high five-figure price to a specialized collector who is located in Florida.
The 1850-O is a numismatically significant issue as it represents the very first double eagle struck at the New Orleans Mint, as well as the first branch mint double eagle. It is not a scarce issue based on is comparatively generous mintage of 141,000. Hundreds of examples have been introduced into the coin market in the last few years as US gold coins are repatriated, and at one time in 2018 I purchased a group of over a dozen 1850-Os ranging from EF40 to AU53.
What the relative availability of this issue fails to convey, however, is its rarity in higher grades. Properly graded AU55 and AU58 are scarce and nearly every one with CAC approval has a crusty “Euro” appearance. Let me quickly add that there are plenty of crusty 1850-O $20s that aren’t totally appreciated by CAC as there have been just five stickered at AU55 and two in AU58. I regard this issue as one of the premier appearance rarities in the entire Liberty Head double eagle series, and it’s probably the number one appearance rarity relative to its overall availability in the Type One series.
The only auction record for a PCGS MS60 1850-O $20 is from all the way back in late 2009 when a coin sold for $63,250 USD. In mid-2014, the all-time auction price record for the date occurred when a PCGS/CAC MS61 brought $111,625. I was the underbidder on that coin and while it was nice, I’m not sure that it would grade higher than AU58+ if it were cracked-out and sent to PCGS as a raw coin. The Dallas Bank Collection example, which was graded MS62 by NGC, is the only other 1850-O I am aware of that qualifies as Uncirculated. The Hansen/Crawford coin, graded AU58+ by PCGS, is another top-notch example.
The 1850-O $20 sold by DWN is notable for the overall cleanliness of its fields on both the obverse and on the reverse. As you can see from the accompanying images, this piece has a near-total absence of detracting abrasions. Its overall “look”, in fact, is totally different from the typical example of this date. In addition to being very mark-free, this coin has a totally natural rich yellow-gold color – which is absolutely the proper hue for the issue and is seldom seen. Coupled with the above-average strike, this gives the coin premium overall eye appeal for the date and grade.
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About Doug Winter
Doug has spent much of his life in the field of numismatics; beginning collecting coins at the age of seven, and by the time he was 10 years old, buying and selling coins at conventions in the New York City area.
In 1989, he founded Douglas Winter Numismatics, and his firm specializes in buying and selling choice and rare US Gold coins, especially US gold coins and all branch mint material.
Recognized as one of the leading specialized numismatic firms, Doug is an award-winning author of over a dozen numismatic books and a recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and an exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins have made him one of the most respected figures in the numismatic community and a sought-after dealer by collectors and investors looking for professional personalized service, a select inventory of impeccable quality, and fair and honest pricing. Doug is also a major buyer of all US coins and is always looking to purchase collections both large and small. He can be reached at (214) 675-9897.
Doug has been a contributor to the Guidebook of United States Coins (also known as the “Red Book”) since 1983, 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.
In addition, he has authored 13 books on US Gold coins including:
- Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909
- Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint: 1870 – 1893
- Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861
- The United States $3 Gold Pieces 1854-1889
- Carson City Gold Coinage 1870-1893: A Rarity and Condition Census Update
- An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type One Double Eagles
- The Connoisseur’s Guide to United States Gold Coins
- A Collector’s Guide To Indian Head Quarter Eagles
- The Acadiana Collection of New Orleans Coinage
- Type Three Double Eagles, 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint, 1838-1861: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Type Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic History and Analysis
Finally, Doug is a member of virtually every major numismatic organization, professional trade group and major coin association in the US.