The Big Five Carson City Double Eagles

The Big Five Carson City Double Eagles

Carson City double eagles can be neatly divided into three tiers of rarity. The first tier—or what I like to call the Big Five—consists of the 1871-CC, 1878-CC, 1879-CC, 1885-CC, and the 1891-CC. If we assume that most collectors will never buy an 1870-CC due to its rarity and cost, these five issues are the keys to the set.

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1890-CC $20.00 PCGS AU58

This lustrous slider is free of noticeable wear but does show just a bit too much friction in the obverse fields to qualify as a Mint State coin. That said, with its nice light rose and orange-gold hues, it has tremendous eye appeal. The most prominent mark is a small scrape between stars eleven and twelve on the obverse. The 1890-CC is the most available CC double eagle from this decade and its affordability in comparably high grades makes it of interest to the type collector.

Ex New England Rare Coin Auctions 3/1982: 2301

1877-CC $20.00 PCGS MS62

In the early 1990's, a small group of high quality 1877-CC Carson City double eagles was found overseas and repatriated to the United States. They were sold mostly in the Bowers and Merena Stetson auction in 1993 and the present example, I believe, is from this group. It is tied with a small number of other coins as the single highest graded example of this date and it is certainly one of the finest--if not the finest--1877-CC available to collectors. The best feature of this coin is its superb natural deep orange-gold color which is accentuated by darker highlights on the relief areas of the obverse and, to a lesser degree, on the reverse. There are a few light scuffs on Liberty's face and neck; the central reverse shows some abrasions and there is a scrape right below the mintmark that serves as identification. With the popularity of Carson City double eagles reaching an all-time high, coins like this become more and more in demand.

1872-CC $20.00 PCGS EF45 CAC

This is one of the few really nice examples of this date that I have seen in an EF45 holder; most are overgraded, overdipped and overabraded. The surfaces are extremely clean with limited abrasions and attractive medium natural green-gold color. The 1872-CC is the first double eagle from this mint that can be acquired by the collector of average means. It is comparable to the 1873-CC but it is a touch more available in higher grades. I rank it as the fifth rarest of nineteen CC double eagles in terms of high grade rarity. This issue becomes pricey in AU grades and, to my eyes, this choice EF example has better eye appeal than most graded AU50 or even AU53.

1874-CC $20.00 PCGS EF40

Recently expatriated from Europe and graded by PCGS (somewhat conservatively I might add) in their Paris office. Nice and dirty with some underlying luster and attractive natural coloration. The surfaces are very clean for the issue. I think this coin compares favorably with the PCGS EF45 CAC example of this date which I just sold.

1892-CC $20.00 PCGS VF35

Old Green Holder. By today's standards this example grades at least EF40 but there is a small, thin obverse scratch in the left field. The obverse and reverse have a completely crusty appearance and it seems likely that this coin spent a number of years in a European bank vault. Great value at under $2,000!

1890-CC $20.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

Superbly toned in deep orange-gold hues with appealing deeper highlights offering contrast between the devices and the fields. This coin appears to have no real wear but is instead a "slider" due to some scuffs in the fields and light rubbing on the devices. Some abrasions can be seen in the obverse fields while the reverse is clean and choice. A decidely nicer coin than many of the 1890-CC double eagles that I see in MS60 and MS61 holders and an issue that is becoming hard to find with this degree of originality.

1892-CC $20.00 NGC MS60

This coin is absolutely "new" with no wear noted on the high spots or rubbing but it is a bit on the baggy side from a sojourn in a mint bag. From the standpoint of luster and body, the coin approximates an MS62 but I think the MS60 grade is accurate given the scuffs that can be seen on both sides. That said, this coin has pleasing overall eye appeal with a slightly Prooflike finish and very attractive reddish-gold color on the central obverse. It is not uncommon for this date to be extensively abraded but it is rare for examples to be as flashy and vibrant as this. A very solid coin for the grade and good value as the 1892-CC becomes very expensive (and hard to locate) as one travels up the grading scale.