In the past few years, Liberty Head double eagles have become more popular than ever with collectors. I attribute this to a number of reasons:
My books on all three types of Liberty Head double eagles alerted collectors to the rarity of these coins.
Each of the three types have been expertly promoted and marketed by large retailing firms, greatly adding to the number of advanced collectors seeking these coins.
The price of rare St. Gaudens double eagles rose to the point that most collectors of average means could never hope to assemble a date set. The Liberty Head coinage offered greater “bang for your buck” for the collector of average means.
The soaring price of gold in the past three years has focused a considerable amount of attention on all large-size gold coins.
Until a few years ago, the prices for the classic rarities in the Liberty Head double eagle series (dates such as the 1854-O, 1856-O, 1861-S Paquet, 1870-CC and the Proof only issues from the 1880’s) were very reasonable in comparison to other important gold coins of comparable rarity. Today, prices for many of these rarities have shot out of sight. Are there still good values in the Liberty Head double eagle series?
I think the answer to this is an unqualified yes. Here are some issues in each of the three major design types that I feel are undervalued:
Type One: In my opinion, the Philadelphia issues struck from 1853 through 1858 are greatly undervalued in higher grade (AU55 and above). Despite high original mintage figures, these have comparably low survival rates and are typically seen in low grades when available. Another date I like is the 1859. This date is far rarer in high grades than most people realize.
Type Two: Virtually every Type Two struck before 1872 is very scarce in Uncirculated. In my opinion, many of these dates are undervalued, especially in MS62 or above. Very high quality Type Two double eagles of any date (even common issues like the 1873, 1875, 1875-S and 1876) are very rare in properly graded MS63 and above and are not fully appreciated as type coins.
Type Three: Although they have risen in price in the past few years, the rare Philadelphia issues from the 1880’s are still undervalued. I almost never see business strikes from 1881, 1882 and 1886 and when I do, the coins tend to be awful. Pleasing, original examples of these dates in AU50 are even rarer than their low mintages suggest. A slightly less “sexy” date that I think is very scarce and undervalued is the 1880, especially in MS61 or better.