1869 $20 MS65+ PCGS CAC - ParadimeCoins
1869 $20 MS65+ PCGS CAC - ParadimeCoins
1869 $20 MS65+ PCGS CAC - ParadimeCoins
1869 $20 MS65+ PCGS CAC - ParadimeCoins

1869 $20 MS65+ PCGS CAC

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Glorious Gem Mint State 1869 Double Eagle - "The Black Friday"

Finest Certified for the Issue

Among the Finest Type II Double Eagles of Any Date


1869 Liberty Head Double Eagle MS-65+ PCGS CAC

Featuring lovely mint frost and richly original olive-gold patina, this is a truly remarkable Liberty Head double eagle irrespective of type or date. Pale rose highlights are evident and enhance the memorable eye appeal. With its razor sharp striking detail and virtually pristine surfaces, one has to admire this coin for its technical quality and visual appeal. Remarkable.

The Type II double eagle as a whole is among the most challenging issues to obtain in high grade. The Type I double eagle is available in Uncirculated thanks in part to treasure recovered from ships like the S.S. Republic, S.S. Brother Jonathan, and most notably the S.S. Central America. Even Type III issues can be found in moderately higher grades courtesy of repatriations of large quantities from overseas as well as efforts by well-positioned and well-heeled numismatists. This is not the case with the Type II double eagle where high degrees of preservation is much more rarefied and more by chance.

The 1869 double eagle is no exception. In that year, 175,130 double eagles were struck at Philadelphia, most of which coined in Philadelphia tended to be obtained by large banks or other trading firms who used them for international commerce, shipping them in large quantities overseas. Those that remained in circulation domestically experienced the typical rigors of commercial use and are generally found in EF to AU. Large quantities of the issue ended up in the Treasury's melting pots during the great meltings of the 1930s, leaving even fewer behind, which is estimate to be 1,260 pieces in total an estimated survival rate of 0.72%. After the Second World War, some of the coins that were shipped overseas found their way back to the United States, but only a few turned out to be in Mint State, almost exclusively between MS-60 and MS-62. Above that level and this issue is a major condition rarity.

In the early 1980s in his landmark guide to gold coins, David W. Akers wrote that he was able to locate only seven auction listings of Uncirculated pieces in a survey of more than 400 major auction sales. The situation had not much improved by the time Q. David Bowers wrote in his Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins in 2004 that he estimated a Mint State population somewhere between 15 to 20 different examples. Today's population reports and census figures allow a clear look at the grade landscape and it confirms what has been suspected for many years: the 1869 is exceptionally rare above Choice Mint State. NGC reports a single MS-63 specimen with none finer, while PCGS notes only 2 other coins MS-64 which are MS64. Standing at the very top is this coin, the sole single finest by a mile. In fact, so special is this coin that there are only two MS-66 Type II double eagles extant, this included as it was MS66, and only one finer, the MS-67 1875-S, a common date unlike the 1869 from the Pogue Collection.

It is thus natural to question and wonder where and why this particular coin survived in such unbelievable quality for a rare date. The year 1869 was quite memorable for two speculators who created quite a stir in the gold market. President Lincoln partially financed the Northern war effort by issuing greenbacks (paper) currency. Gold had generally disappeared from circulation during the war and continued in hiding well afterward. As prices slowly returned to normal and more coins returned to circulation two speculators decided it might be fruitful to attempt to corner the market for gold. Normally, the huge holdings of the United States government were used to keep the price of gold stable. Nevertheless speculators Jay Gould and James "Jubilee Jim" Fisk employed various friends and acquaintances to have President U. S. Grant hold the Treasury's gold off the market, giving them a chance to control the price of gold. Grant was led to believe that long suffering farmers were unable to sell their home grown grain overseas as the price of gold was too low, so increasing it a bit might make local grain more competitive. Gould and Fisk bought highly leveraged positions in gold, hoping to cash in on the quick rise in the price of gold. At that time speculators could leverage about 100 to 1, in other words they could own 100 ounces of gold for every 1 ounce they purchased on paper. Naturally, just a small move in the price of gold the wrong direction would wipe out their holdings, but if they were correct, then millions could be quickly made in the market. Unsuspecting Grant cooperated for a brief time, and the highly leveraged Gould and Fisk made paper fortunes. The price of gold rose steadily into September, 1869. The Gould and Fisk scheme seemed to be working, then Grant found out the true motivation of his "friends" and Grant immediately authorized gold bullion to be sold by the Treasury. This happened on September 24, 1869, a date which became known as "Black Friday". The price of gold collapsed back to levels seen before the corner was attempted. Many speculators were wiped out, and Gould and Fisk had to move on to other ventures. This particular double eagle was struck during this wild year and perhaps served as a memento to someone involved as it recorded the famous year that Gould and Fisk nearly cornered the gold market, an event that is well recorded in the history books.


Provenance: From the D. Brent Pogue Collection, MS66 PCGS estimate -$300,000 - $400,000. Earlier, from Heritage's sale of the Madison Collection, January 2008 FUN Signature Auction, lot 3319, MS65 OGH PCGS for $299,000; Heritage's sale of the Gold Rush Collection, January 2005 FUN Signature Sale, lot 30073, MS65 OGH PCGS for $218,500.

Now Available as a MS65+ PCGS CAC. Please note there is no PRICE GUIDE for MS65+, but at a lower grade MS65 the PRICE GUIDE IS $300,000.

 

Information and parts retrieved from Stack's Bowers and Heritage Auctions Catalog Description.

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