1866-S Double Eagle, with motto, NGC AU58. The first
year of the type 2 reverse double eagles saw 842,250
pieces struck at the San Francisco Mint. Although
approximately 8 times more motto pieces were struck
than the other variety of the year, the no motto double
eagles, most of these soon entered circulation.
Unlike the situation seen on the east coast, double
eagles circulated freely along the west coast, where
paper money generally was not accepted. This makes
AU pieces of the 1866-S with motto very scarce, especially
in upper AU, and Mint State pieces are seldom encountered.
Between 4,000 and 5,000 pieces still remain to exist
in all circulated grades, with 50-70 believed to exist
in true Mint State.
The type 2 double eagles are notorious for being
weakly struck, and the 1866-S double eagle is no exception.
Although the current piece is somewhat weakly struck
in the centers, all the stars on the obverse are fully
struck, a rare occurrence with most examples of this
Struck from 1866 to 1876, type 2 double eagles make
for a very enjoyable collecting experience. Although
the full set contains several stoppers, like the 1870-CC,
all dates have at least one coin available more easily
than the others. This makes it fun to collect one
of each date, which is, especially in AU and higher
a very worthwhile experience and a great set when
The piece offered here is a prime example of this
much circulated issue. Virtually full luster, this
coin is only a few days of circulation short of being
a full Mint State coin. No distracting marks are noted
on either side, and the very clean fields make this
coin much nicer than the average MS-62 seen in today’s
market. A great coin for the discriminating collector!