By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
CoinWeek Content Partner
Many of the ultra-rare coins we sell never make it onto the DWN website. Every now and then, we let you go “behind the curtain” to see some of the truly special coins we sell to clients. These are typically individuals who have active want lists with us, or with whom we are working closely to create important sets.
Our first installment of this series garnered numerous comments, some pithy emails/texts, and a number of want lists from collectors searching for special coins. In this installment, we look at three more very special coins sold by DWN that didn’t make it onto our website.
1862 $20, NGC MS63+★ CAC
Most advanced collectors of Type One Liberty Head double eagles are in agreement that the 1862 is the single rarest issue of this type struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The 1859 is likely the most difficult issue of this type from Philadelphia in Uncirculated (I’ve never seen one better than MS-62 and am aware of no more than five to seven that are Uncirculated), with the 1862 a close second. It is likely that fewer than a dozen Uncirculated 1862 Twenties exist, with most in the MS-60 to MS-62 range.
1862 $20.00 NGC MS63+★ CAC. All images courtesy Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN)
The single finest business strike 1862 $20 is an NGC MS-64 owned by the New England Collection; it has been off the market since it brought $62,100 in a 2005 auction. The next best I am aware of is the Crawford/Hansen PCGS/CAC MS63, which is likely off the market for many years.
This example, while not pedigreed as such, was clearly one of the four Uncirculated 1862 double eagles found in the SS Republic shipwreck. It had an outstanding appearance with bright green-gold surfaces which lacked most of the deep abrasions that plague this issue. It was offered for sale as Lot 3309 in the Heritage 2/2022 auction.
Given that this was likely the only chance a serious collector would have to buy an 1862 $20 in high grades (and with enough eye appeal to garner a sticker at CAC), I knew this coin was going to smash the previous auction record of $78,000 set in May 2020 for a non-CAC PCGS MS-63, which I thought was a bit enthusiastically graded when I saw it in person.
DWN purchased this coin for $174,000 – which is evidence of the strength of higher-end Type One double eagles, a segment of the market that has shaken off its doldrums and become quite lively of late.
1863 $20, PCGS MS63
Also included in the Heritage 2/2022 sale was a nice PCGS MS-63 example of the third-rarest Philadelphia date of this type, the 1863.
1863 $20.00 PCGS MS63
There were some marginally Uncirculated examples of this issue in the SS Republic treasure, but the 1863 remains extremely rare in MS-63 (just two are graded as such by PCGS) with but a single coin finer: the MS-64 from the Hansen Collection that was previously owned by Bill Crawford.
This coin had a totally different appearance than the 1862 discussed above. It was likely not a shipwreck coin, as it possessed rich natural orange-gold color over frosty surfaces. I’m going to assume that this coin didn’t pass muster at CAC on account of some scuffs in the obverse fields but, in my opinion, it was very solid for the grade and it ranked high in the Condition Census.
I purchased this coin for $90,000, which I thought was a pretty reasonable number given that it brought $85,188 in its last auction appearance in January 2015.
I purchased this coin for the New England Collection, which is likely the second-finest set of Type One double eagles, trailing only the Hansen Collection.
This coin joins an impressive group of Civil War P mint double eagles, which is as follows:
- 1861, PCGS/CAC MS-65
- 1862, NGC MS-64 (finest known)
- 1863, PCGS MS-63
- 1864, PCGS MS-65 (finest known)
- 1865, NGC MS-66 (finest known)
1872 $1.00, PCGS/CAC MS67+
I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that many of the scarcer, low-mintage Type Three gold dollars made from the early 1860s through the mid-1870s have small numbers of absolutely superb Gems. These are coins that grade MS-67, MS-68, and even MS-69 by today’s standards. Why do these coins exist?
1872 $1.00 PCGS MS67+ CAC
It is probable that a quantity of 1872 gold dollars (likely on order of 10 to 20 coins) was saved by contemporary collectors/dealers/hoarders. They were aware of the low mintage of these coins, and given that gold dollars were a lot easier to salt away than eagles or double eagles, it made sense to take a small position.
We know that many of these gold dollars wound up in the possession of Virgil Brand, the Chicago mega-collector who was active in numismatics from the late 1870s until he died in 1926. It is very likely that most (if not all) of the uber-Gem 1872 gold dollars were once part of the Brand holdings.
The 1872 has a mintage of 3,500; a figure very much in line with the numbers of gold dollars produced for circulation during each year of the 1870s. The current PCGS population is seven in MS-67 (this number seems inflated by resubmissions, and the actual number of different coins is more likely four or five), four in MS-67+, and one in MS-68.
This piece is absolutely lovely, with rich natural orange-gold hues over reflective surfaces. I sold it to a prominent Midwestern collector who is putting together an impressive year set of high-end gold dollars.
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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.