1854 Twenty Dollar Gold (Large Date) Seawater Dam.
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I recently submitted a nice 1854 Twenty Dollar Gold Piece to PCGS, thinking with its nice matte finish, luster and strong strike, it might come back MS-62. It came back as "AU details, Genuine, not gradeable, Large Date (The rarer of the two!) and Salt H20 Dam(aged). 

So...... I am thinking this coin might well have been on the paddleboat SS Republic.

I am probably dreaming here, but is there any way -- now after the fact, upon examination by NGC-- to infer and add any provenance or attribution to this coin??  Should any NCS conservation work be done on it? (There is no encrustation or any ostensible damage or staining to the surface, just a pleasant matte finish with subdued mint luster. 

Thanks for any guidance on this matter.

 

Michael Kress

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for your question. Our NCS experts would need to evaluate the coin to determine if conservation would benefit the coin. As for the attribution, we would need the coin to be submitted with the documents from the salvage company in order to identify as a shipwreck coin. 

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Hi Michael,

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on having the rarer large date variety of 1854 double eagles.  If your coin had come back MS62, it would have been one of the top 4 coins graded between both services and could likely sell for more than $50K. 

Many of the gold coins from the major shipwrecks, ie, SS Republic, SSCA, and Brother Jonathan, were still gradable and most reside in problem free holders.  There are some Yankee Blade 1854-S doubles eagles that are in holders labeled “salt water unc” though most/many are now in problem-free holders, though surface granularity is evident on close inspection. 

This is speculation on my part, but the source of your coin, may be from the Fort Capron hoard.  This lesser known shipwreck occurred off the coast of Florida in 1857.  It was reported to contain 1854 double eagles, though the number of large date examples is not known.

Unfortunately, the saltwater damage is irreversible, and the surfaces cannot be repaired and the luster cannot be restored.  It would be extremely unlikely that the provenance of your coin could be identified, especially if it is from the Fort Capron hoard since those coins were found in the 1960 and most were sold secretly.  You mentioned the label states, H20 Dam(aged), which is more interesting than being cleaned. 

Do you have any images of the coin that you can post?

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Coagman:

A sincere thanks for furthering this discussion by pointing out the possibility of the Ft. Capron hoard as possible (yes, I understand, totally unproven and unprovable) provenance/attribution AND noting but for the inability to establish provenance and the often slight difference in PCGS/NGC rating between a 55/58 and a 62, this might be/have been a 50K coin.

Pictures are attached. IMHO, this coin is a stronger strike with less rub, if any, than the NGC 55 Large Date shown on their site. It also has a pleasing matte appearance and would fit in with a high grade or Registery Set of (Early) Liberty $20 Gold Pieces. 

For the right price, it is for sale to yourself or any other interested party.

Thanks again,

Mike

 

 

 

 

IMG_1852.JPG

IMG_1854.JPG

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Hi Mike,


I am happy to read that you found my comments useful.  I find the story of the Fort Capron Treasury hoard interesting and for me it enhances the fun of owning such a coin, even if it can’t be definitely traced to the hoard.  I once owned an 1856-S $20 with saltwater surfaces.  Like your coin, it had the same matte-like granular surface texture and was free of bag marks and abrasions.  I am somewhat surprised that these coins are not more in demand considering the popularity of the gold coins from the 3 major shipwrecks.  

The large date variety makes up approx 15% of 1854 double eagles, and the differences between the small and large date variety can be challenging to distinguish if you don’t have a lot of experience with the series.  Your coin appears to me to be the small date variety.  It is also missing two of the identifiers found on the large date variety.  Sorry to be the bearer of this bad news, but it is still a cool coin.  
 

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Your coin appears to me to be the small date variety.  It is also missing two of the identifiers found on the large date variety.  

Coagman:

I do  not disagree. When I sent it to PCGS, I was convinced-- from my comparison of the same markers you looked at-- it was a Small Date and was quite surprised (and still dubious) it was designated Large Date. But who am I to question the almightly authority of PCGS (!?)

Seriously, were I to get down to brass tacks in selling this coin, I would let any buyer know of my doubts.

Thanks again,

Mike

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