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1863-S Double Eagle

1863-S Double Eagle
1863-S Double Eagle
PCGS No: 8940
Circulation strikes: 966,570
Proofs: None
Designer: James Barton Longacre
Diameter: ±34 millimeters
Metal content: Gold - 90%
Other - 10%
Weight: ±516 grains (±33.4 grams)
Edge: Reeded
Mintmark: "S" (for San Francisco) below the eagle's tail on the reverse.
The 1863-S double eagle has been one of those issues that was always available in low grades but very rare in high grades. The discovery of the S.S. Republic and S.S. Brother Jonathan brought to light nearly 300 new and relatively high-grade examples. The majority of the coins found are in the About Uncirculated range, but there were several choice pieces located. An NGC MS-62 coin from the Brother Jonathan sold at auction in 2005 for 516,675. Low grade examples can be purchased for the price of a common double eagle of this type; these $20 pieces are an incredible bargain for collectors of interesting Civil War-era coins.
Key to Collecting: The 1863-S double eagle is readily available in circulated grades, with VF being the norm. The treasure from the S.S. Brother Jonathan brought to market a group of AU and Mint State coins, accounting for most of the higher grade pieces known today, although at least a dozen different Mint State coins were on the market in earlier times.
Aspects of Striking: Usually well struck. High grade specimens have lustrous surfaces.
Die Data: Standard four-digit logotype punch for this year. 4 1863-dated obverse dies were sent to San Francisco in November 1862 and 6 more in the following March, the latter shipment including 4 reverse dies as well. Old reverses were used in addition to the new ones. The San Francisco Mint used many cracked reverse dies, seemingly keeping them in use for a longer period of rime than was done at the Philadelphia Mint. Aledium S (sometimes called Large S) mintmark is the style usually seen; the Small S exists and is much rarer.
Thomas G. Melish and Clinton W. Hester Collections (A. Kosoff, April 1956) Lot 915: "1863-S. Large S centered over N.
Very Fine. "Realized $50. Another: Lot 916: "1863-S. Small S over left ofN. Almost Extremely Fine. A nice coin." Realized $48.
Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection Part III (Bowers and Merena Galleries, May 2000) Lot 814 "1863-S MS-62 (PCGS).... Die
crack at rim joining bottom 186. Several fine die cracks spider web through most of the legends with a heavy die crack starting at the rim connecting the tops of MERIC and just missing the top of A back to the rim. Purchased from Stack's. April 28. 1972. Realized $11,500.
Dallas Bank Collection (Sotheby's / Stack's, October 2001) Lot 38: "1863-S Choice Brilliant Uncirculated, a virtual gem. The Alters plate coin. One of the finest known.... An astonishingly important coin, especially caking into consideration the fact that of all the S.S. Brother Jonathan examples, there was not a single coin to compare. Indeed it is unlikely that a finer example has ever been offered publicly." Realized $23.000.

Number of Appearances: 72 (16%)
High Grade Condition Points: 19

Auction Records:

(15) Unc: Stack's 9/81; New England 11/80, 7/80, 1/80; ANA 1979; Ivy 12/76; ANA 1976; Pine Tree 6/75, 2/75; AAA 1/75; Stack's 6/74, 2/73; Miles 1968; Stack's 4/67; MC 1948

(19) AU: Paramount 11/80; New England 4/80; Superior 10/79; Stack's 6/79; New England 3/79, 11/78; B&R 2/78; New England 7/77, 12/76; ANA 1976; ANA 1975; Pine Tree 6/75; AAA 11/74; Superior 10/74; GENA 1974; Stack's 6/72; Baldenhofer 1955; Kern 1950; Bell 1944

(21) EF: Coin Galleries 9/81; Stack's 6/81, 2/80, 12/79, 10/79; B&R 6/79 (2); Ivy 2/79; Stack's 2/79; B&R 2/79; Stack's 10/78, 6/77; ANA 1976; ANA 1975; Stack's 6/70; Paramount 11/69; ANA 1969; Stack's 1/69; Bell 1963; Baldenhofer 1955; Smith 1955

(49) VF: Stack's 3/81; Kreisberg 9/80; Stack's 3/80, 12/79; NASCA 10/79; Stack's 6/79, 4/77, 2/77; Coin Galleries 11/75; Stack's 4/30/75; RARCOA 4/75; ANA 1974; Stack's 2/74; Paramount 5/73; Gilhousen 1973; Shapero 1971; Kreisberg/Cohen 9/71; RARCOA 5/71; Stack's 4/71; ANA 1969 (3); Paramount 2/69 (2); Shuford 1968; Stack's 5/68, 2/68, 10/66; ANA 1966; Paramount 3/66; Kosoff 10/65; Paramount 10/65; Kreisberg 6/65; Ward 1964; Walton 1963; Golden 1963 (2); Wolfson 1962; Golden 1962; Cicero 1960; Holmes 1960; Melish 1956 (2); Farouk 1954; Lee 1947; Atwater 1946; WGC 1946; Flanagan 1944; Roach 1944

(7) Fine:
Kreisberg Cohen 11/70; DiBello 1970; Kreisberg/Cohen 6/68; Kreisberg 9/67, 10/66; Paramount 2/65; Menjou 1950

The 1863-S double eagle is a moderately scarce date in all grades with most of the available specimens grading only VF or EF. In AU, this date is very scarce and in average uncirculated condition it is quite rare. Choice and gem quality examples do exist but they are definitely rare. However, among Type I Double Eagles from the San Francisco Mint, this is one of the most often encountered dates in original uncirculated condition. Only the 1856-S is available more often. (Several other early S-Mints, notably the 1854-S and 1855-S, are also seen more often in Unc. than the 1863-S but most uncs of these two earlier dates are the "saltwater" variety and not original.)

See this 1863-S 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


US Rare Coin Investments 2003 - 2015 U.S. Rare Coin Investments

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