$ 20 double eagle in 1870-CC gold has a rich history

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Heritage Auctions will be giving away a newly rediscovered 1870-CC gold double eagle on October 7 with a wonderful history.

Between 55 and 65 copies are believed to have survived a draw of 3,789 double eagles minted at the famous Nevada facility, and no survivors of the Mint State are known. The coin offered is rated Extremely Fine 40 by Professional Coin Grading Service, and Heritage observes shiny surfaces with “a thin outline of red patina surrounding the devices.” The company adds: “Each side is lightly abraded, the most distinctive mark for pedigree purposes being a mark just above the crown, between stars 6 and 7.”

A family history of the coin is included in the lot, which indicates that it was acquired by Hirum Murdock and his wife Rachel, who were among the original Mormons of Nauvoo, Illinois, in the 1840s. They were married by Brigham Young – who later founded the Mormon Church – and the couple moved to Minnesota in 1865. There, “Their closest neighbors were a group of Chippewa Indians, with whom their children played and, together, tried to survive the bitter winters of Minnesota. The family adds that since the Native Americans were their trading partners, “it is entirely possible that the $ 20 gold coin came from this activity since the Sioux were the major trading group between Minnesota and Nevada. ”The coin is said to have descended in the family for five generations and“ has been completely unknown to collectors since the mintmark collection has existed. ”

Formerly unrecognized mint marks

The collection of coins by Mint mark was popularized with Augustus Heaton’s book in 1893 Workshop marks, which has led collectors to recognize rare problems like the double eagle of 1870-CC. Recently published Rusty Goe Volume I The Confident Collector of Carson City devotes 14 pages to the show, including one offering at a B. Max Mehl auction in May 1915, where it sold for just $ 3.50 more than face value, showing that the issue had little premium over face value at the start of the 20th century. The momentum began to take shape in the 1940s; today, Goe writes that over the past three decades, prices have “skyrocketed to previously unfathomable levels.” A copy of comparable quality certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. sold for $ 360,000 earlier this year at a heritage auction.

The letter to the family further notes: “Hirum, Rachel and their children were desperately poor during the period 1865-1880 and the story is that Hirum acquired the $ 20 gold coin at a time when he and Rachel didn’t have enough money to buy shoes for everyone. their children and food were scarce. He was heavily criticized at the time for such extravagance, “Heritage noted,” This last passage reveals something that many in numismatics generally do not want to talk about, how some collectors actually suffered and made their families suffer, or at least do without modern conveniences, in the name of building up their collections.

Goe writes: “Collectors might dream of finding a $ 20 1870-CC gold coin with mesmerizing visual appeal, but after reality sets in, hopes are dashed. However, Heritage asserts that the coin offered “has a well-balanced appearance from side to side” and concludes: “It is certain that few or no 20-year-old 1870-CC will appear on the market in the future with the pedigree similar to this particular coin.

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