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1866-S With Motto Double Eagle

1866-S With Motto Double Eagle
1866-S With Motto Double Eagle
PCGS No: 8950
Mintage Circulation strikes: 722,250
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, CA) below the eagle's tail on the reverse

Gold double eagles saw extensive circulation in the Western states during the 1860s. Although the mintage is relatively high for the 1866-S, With Motto issue, most of the survivors are well worn. The date is not difficult to locate in Very Fine or Extremely Fine. About Uncirculated examples are seen, but mostly on the low end of that scale. Very few coins of the date have turned up in Mint State over the last 140 years. There are probably only about two dozen examples known that qualify as Uncirculated. None are known in choice condi¬tion. One of the finest specimens seen by the authors has been the Harry W. Bass Jr. example, which was graded MS-61 by PCGS and sold for $20,700 in mid-2000.
Key to Collecting: 1866-S With Motto Double Eagle are easy to find in circulated grades such as VF, EF, and the occasional AU, uncirculated coins are few and far between.
Aspects of Striking: Sometimes lightly struck at centers, this being generally true of Type 2 double eagles.
Die Data: Standard four-digit logotype punch for this year. Logotype and mintmark position variations exist. Small S (usually seen) and medium S mintmark varieties, the latter unrecorded bv Breen. 6 reverse dies of the new IX GOD VVE TRUST type were sent from Philadelphia in March 1866, followed by 8 obverse dies and 6 reverse dies in May 1866- Walter Breen stated that these proved brittle and were replaced by 8 more reverses, September 1866." The motto IX GOD WE TRUST was punched by hand into inottoless reverse dies of the new type with curved sides to the shield. See discussion under 1866 With Motto. Misplaced Date (MPD): One die shows a stray 8 hidden in the dentils and was first noticed by Harry W. Bass, Jr.

49th Sale, Eliasberg Duplicates (New Netherlands Coin Co., June 195 7) Lot 117: '1866-S. Motto. Microscopic S. Not quite VF- weakly struck, especially at the borders.... Scarce, not in the Peake offering. There were 120,000 coined of the 1866 double eagle without motto, and 722,250 with motto." Realized $40.
Angeio R. Turrini Collection (Stack's, February 1972) Lot 915: "1866-S About Uncirculated. Fully brilliant with all of its mint bloom. Well struck and unquestionably one of the best offered in recent years. Worth close to its listing for Mint State,"
Charles Kramer Collection (Stack's and Superior Galleries, December 1988) Lot 764: "1866-S Motto. Very Fine-35.... Hand punched motto, the N too low and leaning a bit right, oof the arc line of the rest of the upper motto. We feel that the hand
punched dies used at San Francisco were the 6 reverses shipped there from Philadelphia in March 1866; the later 8 re sent in October were from the full hub used in 1867, with taller, better formed letters in the motto."

Number of Appearances: 74 (17%)
High Grade Condition Points: 10

Auction Records:

(1) Unc: Stack's 9/81

(8) AU: Stack's 6/79; New England 7/77; Superior 10/74; Stack's 2/73; ANA 1965; Cicero 1960; Kern 1950; Bell 1944

(27) EF:
Stack's 3/81 (2), 2/80(2), 12/79(2), 10/79, 2/77; ANA 1976; Pine Tree 5/76; ANA 1975; RARCOA 4'75; ANA 1974; Paramount 5 73, 3 72; RARCOA 5/71; Paramount 11 69; ANA 1969; Stack's 3 69, 1 69; Miles 1968; Stack's 5/68, 6/67, 10 66, 2/65; Bell 1963; FUN 1963

(35) VF:
Coin Galleries 9/81; Auction '80; Stack's 3/80. 2/79, 12/77, 9/77, 6/77,4/76; Pine Tree 6/75; Stack's 4 30 75; Scanlon 1973: Gilhousen 1973; Kreisberg/ Cohen 11 72; Stack's 4 71; Kreisberg. Cohen 11.70; Stack's 6 70; DiBello 1970; Stack's 2/70; Harmer, Rooke 11/69; ANA 1968; Shuford 1968; Stack's 4/67; Kreisberg 4 67; Kosoff 10 65; Ward 1964; Walton 1963: Wolfson 1962; ANA 1962; Golden 1962; Holmes I960; Melish 1956; Baldenhofer 1955; Farouk 1954; Menjou 1950; WGC 1946

(3) Fine: Lee 1947; Atwater 1946; Roach 1944

Although not as rare as the 1866-S No Motto, the 1866-S Motto still ranks as one of the rarest S-Mint issues, on a par overall with the 1854-S. 1860-S, 1861-S, 1862-S, 1864-S, 1867-Sand 1868-S. With respect to condition rarity, the 1866-S Motto is in the top \Qc/c of the entire Double Eagle series as indicated both by its low average grade (Appendix B) and its High Grade Condition Points (Appendix D). Compared to all 204 S20 issues and not just those from the San Francisco Mint, the 1866-S Motto still fares well in terms of overall rarity ranking in the top fifth of the series. Almost all known examples of this date are in the VF and EF grades and a full AU is definitely rare. I have seen only two uncirculated examples, the finest being the coin photographed above from the Harry Bass Collection.

See this 1866-S Double Eagle, With Motto 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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