Many coin collectors and numismatists can't help getting a little excited at the mention of gold Double Eagle coins, but some stories are likely to excite anyone with even a casual interest in the pursuit.
Heritage's September Signature sale of rare coins is a vast affair, comprising several thousand lots, some of very low value, but a few truly exceptional rarities, and none more so than an 1856-O $20 (graded XF45+ by the NGC).
The coin, once part of the well known James Bullock collection, has been found in a family collection by numismatic researcher John W McCloskey, who explains that he was passed a "small accumulation of gold coins held by a family in Ohio for nearly 100 years."
Now authenticated, encapsulated, and certified XF45+ by NGC, the coin is set to head Heritage's sale after provoking headline news, ('Rarest New Orleans Mint gold coin in family holdings').
Gold coin specialist Doug Winter calls the 1856-O double eagle issue "the rarest New Orleans double eagle and the rarest gold coin struck at the New Orleans mint." Q David Bowers writes in his Guide Book that "the acquisition of an 1856-O has been the dream of every advanced specialist in the double eagle series." Bowers estimates "fewer than 25 known, and perhaps fewer than 20."
Two of those in existence hold a proud position in the Smithsonian so the attractive piece, unknown to the numismatic world for most of the past century is likely to provoke frenetic bidding.
The piece has already reached a bid of $190,000, and so is likely to exceed the catalogue-based estimate of $220,000 during or before the auction on September 15.
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