By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
CoinWeek Content Partner
In February 2020, I purchased an important Condition Census 1879-CC eagle from the Jacobson Collection sale conducted by Heritage. Housed in a PCGS AU58 holder, this coin cost me $55,200 USD.
When I purchased the coin, I believed it was a really good deal and that it would sell quickly at a modest 15% markup (and a 100% transparent write-up on my site which named the sale it was purchased out of and my exact cost). Instead, it took nearly nine months to sell.
1879-CC $10.00 PCGS AU58. Images courtesy Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN)
I believe the buyer of this coin got an excellent deal on an extremely important coin. Here are some quick thoughts.
When I first got really serious about Carson City gold (around 1984-85), I quickly learned how rare the eagles from the 1870s were, especially in higher grades. Back then, grading standards were really tough on these coins, and for an 1870s eagle to grade AU55 and finer (what I regard as “high grade” for these issues), the coin had to be pretty impressive.
As I learned the market, it quickly became apparent that the 1870-CC was the rarest eagle in the series and, for a long time, I regarded it as a rarer coin than the similarly-dated double eagle (it’s not).
Coming in second was the 1879-CC; an issue with the lowest mintage figure of any Carson City gold coin, and a genuinely scarce issue in any grade.
Fast forward three decades and the 1879-CC has lost some of the cachet it used to have. Today, collectors regard the 1873-CC and the 1877-CC more highly than the 1879-CC – despite the fact that the 1879-CC is clearly rarer from the standpoint of overall rarity.
Let’s look at PCGS populations for the six scarcest Carson City eagles:
From this chart, we can determine that the 1879-CC lays claim to the rarest CC eagle at least in terms of total number graded (there are a number of low-grade 1870-CC eagles known that inflates this date’s overall population). The 1873-CC is also almost as rare as the 1870-CC. However, the status of the 1870-CC as a first-year-of-issue coin will always make it a higher-priced coin than either the 1873-CC or the 1879-CC.
What I find very interesting is the number of coins graded AU55 or finer for each of these issues.
PCGS has graded just two 1873-CC eagles in what are very high grades for the type: one each in AU55 and AU58. This makes it narrowly rarer in this range than the 1870-CC (three graded), the 1877-CC (four graded), and the 1879-CC (five graded). But as you can see, little separates these four issues when it comes to coins graded AU55 and finer.
Now let’s take a look at the PCGS Price Guide for each of these dates in AU55 and in AU58:
One thing that stands out about these numbers is the fact that the 1879-CC eagle–with a population of just two coins in AU58 and none finer–appears underpriced in AU58. In 2019, I sold the only known PCGS AU58 example of the 1873-CC eagle in a deal where it was figured at close to $100,000, and the finest known 1877-CC (a nice NGC AU58) brought slightly over $100,000 in the Heritage 2/2018 sale. Given those two prices, the 1879-CC should be an $85,000-90,000 in AU58.
My congratulations to the new owner of the aforementioned 1879-CC eagle. You bought a great coin at a great price!
For more information about collecting gold coinage from the Carson City Mint, please contact me via email at [email protected].
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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 the 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 “Redbook”) 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.