This regular DWN blog feature looks at some of the rare and interesting coins which we have sold in recent months. Most of these coins never made it to our website, and were quietly sold to collectors who we knew needed specific issues and who we had close personal relationships with.
This amazing coin was recently found in Europe and, of course, we will never know for sure how it made it there or how it survived the ravages of time so well. It was offered to me by a dealer who purchased it from its “discoverer” and I was thrilled to be its first American owner. I later sent it to CAC where it was approved.
I have discussed the unusual paces that great American gold coins turn up in previous blogs and just within the last three months, I have bought pieces from Europe, South America, and the Orient.
The 1860-O is one of three New Orleans mint “tier two” rarities in the Type One double eagle series, along with the 1855-O and the 1859-O. The two mega-rarities from this mint are, of course, the 1854-O and the 1856-O both of which are priced beyond the means of all but the deepest-pocketed collectors. Of the three issues, the 1860-O might actually be the most difficult to find with natural color and choice surfaces. (For more information on these items you can visit our Double Eagle reference web-book.)
There are an estimated 85-95 1860-O double eagles with most in the EF40 to AU50 range. While as many as two dozen are known in About Uncirculated, most are at the lower portion of this grade range and nearly every coin I have seen in an AU holder is eitherexcessively abraded, ultra-processed or both. It is doubtful if there are more than four to six known in AU with natural color and choice surfaces.
This nearly fully prooflike example shows rich russet hues with some deeper reddish-gold at the upper reverse. It has not wear to speak of, but the depth of reflection in the fields tends to exaggerate the handling marks which were incurred when the coin was shipped loose in a bag. It is the single most appealing 1860-O double eagle which I have owned and it is clearly in the Condition Census.
The finest known is likely the Crawford/Eliasberg PCGS 58 which would almost certainly grade Uncirculated if resubmitted today. The next best might well be an NGC MS60PL from the S.S. Republic which I handled around six years ago and sold for a record price for the date. With the recent slabbing of this coin, the PCGS population of AU58 1860-O double eagles is now six but it is likely that this represents just three or four distinct coins.
The new owner of this remarkable 1860-O double eagle is a New Orleans specialist located in Louisiana who added this coin to his expanding set of silver and gold condition rarities from his local mint.
Are you interested in acquiring coins like this 1860-O double eagle graded AU58 by PCGS? Please contact the author by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss what your collecting needs entail.