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A rich story is told by an 1870-CC gold $20 double eagle

Heritage Auctions will be offering a newly rediscovered 1870-CC Coronet Gold $20 Double Eagle on Oct. 7, with a fantastic story.

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A rich story is told by an 1870-CC gold $20 double eagle

From the 3,789 double Eagles struck at Nevada's famed facility, between 55 and 65 examples are thought to have survived. There are no Mint State survivors. Heritage has graded the offered coin Extremely Fine 40. It notes that the coins have bright surfaces and a thin russet patina around them. The most distinguishing mark for pedigree purposes is a mark just above and between stars 6-7.

The lot includes a family history, which indicates that the coin was purchased by Hirum Murdock (and his wife Rachel), who were among the first Mormons to arrive in Nauvoo, Illinois in the 1840s. Brigham Young, who later founded Mormon Church, married them and they moved to Minnesota in 1865. They were married by Brigham Young, who later founded the Mormon Church. The couple moved to Minnesota in 1865.

Once unappreciated Mint marks

Augustus Heaton's 1893 book Mintmarks was a popular source of information about collecting coins by Mint mark. This led to collectors recognizing rare items like the 1870-CC double eagle. Rusty Goe recently published Volume 1 of The Confident Carson City Collectordedicates 14 pages to the issue. This includes the offer of one in a May 1915 B. Max Mehl sale where it sold at $3.50 less than its face value. This shows that the issue was not valued higher than the face value in the 20th century. Momentum began to grow in the 1940s. Today, Goe writes that prices have "risen to previously unfathomable heights" over the past 30 years. A comparable graded example certified as Numismatic Guaranty Corporation sold earlier this year for $360,000 at a Heritage auction.

The family letter also notes that Hirum, Rachel, and their children were extremely poor during the 1865-1880 period. The story is that Hirum bought the $20 gold piece when Rachel was struggling to afford shoes and food. Heritage observed, "Hirum was roundly criticised at the time for such a lavish lifestyle." Heritage also noted, "That last paragraph reveals something many in numismatics don't want to discuss, how some collectors have suffered and made their families suffer for the sake building their collections."

Goe writes that collectors may dream of finding an 1870-CC $20-gold piece, but once reality sets in, hopes and dreams are crushed." Heritage states that the coin offered "has a well balanced appearance from side-to-side" and concludes that "It is certain that very few, if any, 1870-CC twenties with the same pedigree will be on the market in future."

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