Coin Specifications

Category: Patterns & Trial Coins (1792-1863)
Mintage: 2
Catalog: KM-Pn123
Composition: Silver
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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C.1850 J-126 $20 PF obverse C.1850 J-126 $20 PF reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Judd-126, Pollock-148, R.8.

Design. The design is that of the Liberty Head double eagle that would premier in 1850 for circulation purposes, save that the die is undated. Struck in silver with a reeded edge.

Commentary. This is a pattern of paramount importance, as it represents the intersection of geology, history, and numismatics as perhaps no other coin can. The California Gold Rush bounty by 1849 was making its way back East, upsetting the traditional balance between gold and silver. True to the laws of supply and demand, silver became overpriced in relation to paper currency or gold, and it was widely hoarded and melted, promptly disappearing from circulation. The vast supplies of gold and need for circulating specie dictated a twenty dollar denomination be introduced, large enough for important commerce and international trade but not so unwieldy as to prevent its circulation (as happened with the octagonal California gold fifties of 1851 and 1852).

A unique 1849 double eagle struck in gold is in the Smithsonian, and it is a national treasure that has justly achieved fame and renown. Of the 1850 double eagle patterns, only three are known, two struck in silver (including the present piece), and a copper-gilt piece in the Harry Bass, Jr. Research Foundation Collection. The date of issue is unknown, but the year 1850 is an eminently reasonable guess.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


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Price Guide

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Total Graded: 2
Low Grade: 62
Average Grade: 63
High Grade: 64

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Auction Prices Realized

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Sale / Lot
1/7/2009 NGC PF 62   Heritage Auctions 2009 January Orlando, FL FUN Auction #1121, 1121/Lot# 1534 $57,500.00

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