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LIBERTY HEAD (NO MOTTO ON REVERSE) TWENTY DOLLARS OR DOUBLE EAGLE (1849-1866)

1861 Double Eagle

1861 Double Eagle
1861 Double Eagle
PCGS No: 8932, 9073
Mintage:  
Circulation strikes: 2,976,453
Proofs: 66
Designer: James Barton Longacre
Diameter: ±34 millimeters
Metal content: Gold - 90%
Other - 10%
Weight: ±516 grains (±33.4 grams)
Edge: Reeded
Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia) below the eagle's tail on the reverse.
Introduction:
Until the treasure of the S.S. Central America was discovered, the 1861 Philadelphia issue was the most common Type 1 double eagle. This is the issue most collectors thought of
when trying to find an acceptable example of the type. The large mintage, the highest of any double eagle until 1904, makes the 1861 a common issue in most grades. Choice pieces are actually very rare. There have only been about 60 coins certified at that level. The finest known example of the date by far is a PCGS MS-67 coin that sold at auction in 1995 for $96,800. Nearly 500 examples of the date were found on the S.S. Republic. Most were in grades from AU-58 to MS-62.
Key to Collecting: The 1861 Philadelphia Mint double eagle has the largest mintage figure for any Type 1 double eagle 1850-1866 or, for that matter, for any 19th century double eagle of any of the three types. Some of this metal came from melted-down Type 1 gold dollars. In the waning days of December 1861, when the outcome of the Civil War was uncertain, banks stopped paying out gold coins at par in exchange for paper money. Hoarding began, and this probably accounts for the survival of 200 or more Mint State coins today, although the large mintage played a role as well. Circulated examples from VF to AU are very common. Although Mint records sliow that 66 Proofs were struck this year, only a half dozen or so can be traced tocky—yielding a variety which David W. Akers considers the rarest of all Proof gold coins after 1858.
Aspects of Striking: Usually well struck, .\lint State coins usually have finelv-grained satiny surfaces rather than deep frost. Certain details less well defined than on 1850-1858 coins (see introduction to Type 1).
Die Data: Standard four-digit logotype punch for this year (see description under 1861 Philadelphia Mint.
Paquet Reverse). 118 obverse dies and 114 reverse dies were made (including a few Paquet Reverse dies). Usable reverse dies were still on hand from earlier times. -Many varieties of date position.
Proof die data and notes: On the Proof die, it was impressed very lightiy, and thus the figures appear more delicate than on typical business strikes. First 1 (1861) closer to neck than to dentils.
Trompeter Specimen: Date to left, slanting minutely down to right; device more frosted than in earlier years, die looks rusty at brow, hair and LIBER; dentils well apart at lower right. Reverse with extra outlines around stars; rays partly joined; unpolished areas at branch, arrows and base of shield, less extensive than on the 1859 die; tapering dentils as on 1859-60. Field striation nearly vertical, slanting slightly down to right, plainest in shield and around eagle.






Number of Appearances: 315 (71%)
High Grade Condition Points: 235

Auction Records:

(4) Proof: Wolf son 1962; MC 1948; Atwater 1946; WGC 1946

(86) Unc: Ivy 981; Stack's 9/81; Auction '81 (2); Ivy 3/81; Stack's 1/81; B&R 12/80; Paramount 11/80; Kagin's 9/80; Auction '80 (3); B&R 8/80; Numisco 5/80 (2); New England 4/80; Kagin's 2/80; Stack's 2/80; Superior 1/80; New England 1/80; Stack's 12/79; New England 11/79; Stack's 10/79; ANA 1979; Auction '79 (2); Ivy 7/79; New England 3/79; Stack's 3/79(3), 2/79; B&R 2/79; Kagin's 1/79; Stack's 12/78; New England 11/78; ANA 1978 (2); Ivy 4/78; New England 4/78: Pine Tree 1/78; Ivy 1/78; Paramount 11/77; Kagin's 10/77; B&R 10/77; Stack's 9/77; ANA 1977; New England 7/77; B&R 6/77; ANA 1976; Pine Tree 5/76; Beck 1976; AAA 12/75; GENA 1975 (2); ANA 1975; AAA 6/75; Paramount 5/75; AAA 11/74; ANA 1974; Stack's 6/74; AAA 2/74; ANA 1973; Slack's 2/73; AAA 5/72; ANA 1971; Stack's 4/71; Alto 1970; Stack's 10/70; DiBello 1970; Kreisberg/Cohen 6/69; Miles 1968; ANA 1968; Jay 1967; Bolt 1966; Stack's 2/65; ANA 1964; Walton 1963; FUN 1963; Holmes 1960; Baldenhofer 1955; Kern 1950: Lee 1947; Bell 1944; Roach 1944; Ten Eyck 1922

(63) AU: Ivy 9/81; Auction '81; New England 4/81; Stack's 3/81,1/81; State Rare Coin 1/81; NASCA 12/80 (2); Kreisberg 9/80; NASCA 7/80; New England 7/80; Stack's 6/80; New England 4/80; Kagin's 2/80; Stack's 2/80, 12/79; Paramount 11/79; NASCA 10/79 (2); Superior 10/79; AN A 1979(2); Auction '79; Stack's 6/79; New England 3/79 (2), 11/78; Kagin's 9/78, 5/78; B&R 6/77; New England 5/77; Stack's 3/77; Superior 2/77; Kreisberg Cohen 11/76; ANA 1976; AAA 5/76; Pine Tree 3/76 (2); Coin Galleries 11/75; ANA 1975 (2); Pine Tree 6/75; Stack's 4/30/75; RARCOA 4/75; Paramount 11/74; GENA 1974; ANA 1974; Paramount 5/74 (2); Pine Tree 3/74; Paramount 2/74; Scanlon 1973; Paramount 5/73; Stack's 3/73; Superior 12/72; Paramount 11/72; Stack's 6/72, 6/70; Kosoff 2/70; Stack's 6/66, 9/65; Delta 1961; Smith 1955

(62) EF: Stack's 12/81; Coin Galleries 9/81; NASCA 4 81; Stack's 3/81 (2); B&R 10/80; Kreisberg 9/80; Stack's 6/80 (2); Coin Galleries 6/80; Stack's 12/79; NASCA 10/79; Stack's 10/79, 9/79 (2), 6/79; NASCA 5/79; B&R 2/79, 10/78; New England 11/77; Stack's 6/77, 2/77; B&R 2/77; Stack's 11/76; ANA 1976; Coin Galleries 4/76; Stack's 4/76; GENA 1975; AAA 9/75; Stack's 9/75,4/4/75; Pine Tree 2/75; Stack's 9/74; GENA 1974(3); Pine Tree 3/74; Stack's 6/73; Pine Tree 9/73; Stack's 5/73; Gilhousen 1973; Shapero 1971; RARCOA 5/71; Superior 3/71; Paramount 2/71; Stack's 9/70, 6/70; Kosoff 2/70; Stack's 1/70; Paramount 11/69; ANA 1969 (4); Stack's 3/69, 6/67, 10/66; Ward 1964; Bell 1963; Baldenhofer 1955 (2); Flanagan 1944

(92) VF: NASCA 4/81; Auction '80; Stack's 6/80; Coin Galleries 6/80; Stack's 3/80, 2/80; Superior 1/80 (2); B&R 9/79; ANA 1979; Stack's 6/78, 5/78, 2/78, 12/77; Kagin's 10/77; Stack's 10/76 (2); Pine Tree 3/76, 6/75; Stack's 4/4/75; AAA 1/75; Superior 10/74 (2); ANA 1974 (2); Stack's 3/74. 2/74: Superior 2/74; AAA 11/73; Stack's 12/72, 2/72; RARCOA 2/72; Kreisberg, Cohen 9/71, 11/70; Stack's 9/70; ANA 1969(11); Paramount 2/69 (10); ANA 1968; Kreisberg/'Cohen 6/68; Shuford 1968: Stack's 5/68; Paramount 10/67; Kreisberg 9/67; Stack's 4/67; Kreisberg 4/67; Stack's 3/67; Paramount 2/67, 11/66, 10/66; ANA 1966; Paramount 3/66; Stack's 3/66; Kreisberg 11/65; Kosoff 10/'65; Paramount 10/65; Kreisberg 6/65; Stack's 2/65; Paramount 2/65; Ward 1964 (2); FUN 1963 (2); Golden 1963; ANA 1962; Golden 1962; Cicero 1960 (2); ANA 1956; Melish 1956; Baldenhofer 1955; Farouk 1954: Menjou 1950; Hall 1945

(7) Fine: Stack's 5/73; Kreisberg/Cohen 9/71. 11/70; Stack's 3/67; Kreisberg 10/66; Melish 1956; Neil 1947

(1) Good: Stack's 6/78

Comments:
This date is the most common Type I Liberty Head Double Eagle and is far and away the easiest to obtain in uncirculated condition. Choice and gem quality uncs are only moderately scarce and I have seen a sizeable number of such pieces as well as some truly superb specimens. In proof, the 1861 is possibly the rarest date after 1858. It is more rare than the 1859, 1865, 1868, 1874. 1875, 1878 or the famous proof-only 1883 and 1884. The only proof I have ever seen offered for sale was the coin in Kagin's "Sale of the 70's" in 1973 that realized $38.000. (This sale was not included in the 443 sales used in this analysis.) In my opinion, only six or seven proofs are known. Since 66 proofs were struck, it is probable that most of them were not sold and were later melted.

See this 1861 Double Eagle for sale. Click here!

Courtesy Akers: United States Gold Coins - An Analysis of Auction Records
Courtesy Bowers: A Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins




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1861 SS Republic $20 - 1861 Double Eagle

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