By Chris Bulfinch – Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Uncovered in 2013, the Saddle Ridge Hoard comprised more than 1,400 U.S. gold coins struck at the San Francisco, Philadelphia, Carson City, and Dahlonega mints and dated 1847 to 1894. Most of the items were double eagles, and many of the coins were spectacularly well-preserved. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is offering an 1892-S double eagle graded MS-65 by PCGS, in the Rarities Night session of our August 2023 Global Showcase Auction.
The San Francisco Mint struck 930,150 double eagles in 1892–a mintage on the higher end of average for the series–but Gem Mint State pieces remained elusive until the discovery of the Saddle Ridge Hoard. Experts think that many, if not a majority, of 1892-S double eagles were exported, primarily to Europe and Latin America, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was a fate common to many double eagles of the era, especially after the United States officially adopted of the gold standard in 1900.
Despite the large number of Mint State coins preserved in vaults overseas that have made their way back stateside (usually with bag marks and other evidence of handling), very few Gem Mint State examples of the 1892-S date were known until fairly recently. In 2012, just three examples had attained that grade and MS-64 examples were regarded as Condition Census-worthy coins by many experts and collectors. Q. David Bowers described coins in MS-64 and MS-65 as “very rare” in his 2004 Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins.
Many of the finest-known 1892-S double eagles came from the Saddle Ridge Hoard, which included 178 examples of the date. One hundred and thirty-four of the 1892-S double eagles reported in the PCGS Population Report have Saddle Ridge Hoard labels; among these are five of the 19 1892-S double eagles in MS-65 reported by the service and three of the five in MS-65+.
NGC’s census has a similarly small Gem population, with a total of seven examples recorded in MS-65 with only one finer reported.
The cataloging for the 1892-S double eagle in our August auction states:
“The surfaces are vivid light golden-rose and both sides are enhanced by swirling mint luster. Fully struck and exceptionally well preserved for an issue that is typically offered no finer than MS-64.”
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For more information on our August 2023 Global Showcase Auction, or to consign your numismatic items to this or another of our auctions, call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].