1906 Double Eagle (1906 $20) PCGS PF62. PCGS Secure. This proof 1906 double eagle has creamy yellow-gold devices with mild haze as seen on many proofs of the era. The coin shows none of the typical handling marks or other distractions often found on large sized proof coins. The strike is sharp on both sides, and the coin comes in a PCGS Secure holder, which attests to the coin’s originality and authenticity. With an original mintage of just ninety-four pieces, the coin is rare in all conditions. At the Mint it was the practice in 1906 to melt unsold proof coins. In addition most of the original proofs that were issued, did not survive after the turn of the century since many were cleaned or otherwise impaired. The proofs of 1902 to 07 have semi-brilliant or satiny devices. The device crevices on the dies were polished along with the fields eliminating much of the contrast. The previous proof issues were frosty.
In 1866 at the behest of Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of Treasury and Congress, the Type 3 double eagle incorporated the motto IN GOD WE TRUST in the circle of arrows above the eagle because of pressure brought about by the Reverend M.R. Watkinson of Ridleyville, Pennsylvania and the general public. This addition did not cause crowding of the design because it was only necessary to enlarge the circle to accommodate the motto within it. The denomination was changed in 1877 from the abbreviated version to the words, TWENTY DOLLARS.
The double eagle was authorized by Congress in 1849 because of the large discoveries of gold in California. Large quantities of gold were coming into the Mint for conversion into coinage. It was felt that a double eagle would greatly facilitate large domestic or international transactions. At a weight of 33.44 grams, they would be comparable to several gold coinages in use in Latin America.
Mint Director Robert Patterson tried to use this new coinage bill as an excuse to terminate James Longacre as the Engraver because of political and other differences. The Chief Coiner, Franklin Peale, with Patterson’s approval and help, was making medals on the side. Patterson was afraid that Longacre would interfere with Peale’ profitable business. Therefore, Peale would not cooperate with Longacre; however, Longacre prevailed and was able to retain his position and complete the dies for the double eagles. Later William Barber and then his son, Charles Barber made minor changes in Longacre’s design, one of which was to smooth the back of the eagle’s neck. All double eagles of 1900 to 1907 have the new reverse.
Since recent demand has increased for Liberty Head proof double eagles, the miniscule supply has been unable to keep up with it. In all only 2,426 Type 3 proofs for the dates 1877 to 1907 were minted. The PCGS population report for the present coin shows 43 in all grades, with 4 in 62 and 26 higher.
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