By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Even though the New Orleans Mint had produced double eagles in both 1850 and 1851, the coiners were still working out many of the difficulties in producing such a large gold piece. The emphasis seemed to have been placed on quantity over quality, leaving many examples with uneven or weak strikes.
In 1852, a total of 190,000 double eagles came off the New Orleans Mint’s presses, helping to make this one of the more readily available of all $20s from that southern mint.
However, as with most gold coins produced in the Antebellum South, the coins entered circulation and saw extensive use throughout the region. As a result, it is estimated that about 400 to 600 examples of the date can be accounted for today, most in the VF and EF range, with only a very small number of coins at the AU level or above. This situation is even more pronounced at the Mint State level, where at best only about a dozen Uncirculated examples may still be extant today.
We are thrilled to offer one of these elusive Mint State examples in our November 2020 Showcase Auction, presented as part of the Collection of Steve Studer. It is an outstanding example of an early New Orleans double eagle, and the fields offer intense satiny luster. The reverse is faintly prooflike. Pale sandy-gold shades are accented by hints of richer honey color across the high points and near the borders. Scattered hairlines are noted on the obverse but the eye appeal remains exceptional for this grade level. Just eight coins have been certified finer by PCGS.
This impressive 1852-O $20 will be presented the Stack’s Bowers November 2020 Showcase Auction, appearing alongside rarities from the Larry H. Miller Collection, the E. Pluribus Unum Collection, the Larry Ness Collection, the Monterrey Collection, the Abigail Collection, and many other significant cabinets. The sale will be available for viewing and bidding on our website StacksBowers.com or you can contact our offices to secure copies of the printed catalogs at [email protected] and 800-566-2580.