Finest known 1870-CC double eagle missing

Rarity disappears in Brinks shipment from PCGS to Heritage
Published : 10/26/11
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The recently discovered and finest known 1870-CC Coronet gold $20 double eagle — estimated by experts to be worth between $750,000 and $1 million — was reported stolen from a Brinks shipment from California to Texas.

The stolen coin, graded About Uncirculated 58 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., was the lone coin in an Oct. 14 Brinks shipment from Professional Coin Grading Service in Newport Beach, Calif., to Heritage Numismatic Auctions in Dallas.

The coin had been consigned to the Platinum Night segment of Heritage’s January 2012 auction, to be held in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando, according to Paul Minshull, Heritage’s chief operating officer.

Minshull said the coin has been in the family of the consignor for more than 50 years, and recently surfaced when submitted for consignment. After being certified by NGC, the coin was submitted to PCGS to be crossed over into a PCGS holder. The coin was shipped back to Heritage, however, in its NGC encapsulation with certification number 3414402-001.

Minshull said the coin theft was discovered when the Brinks shipment arrived at Heritage in Dallas on Oct. 17 sans the rarity. “When we opened the Brinks bag, it was evident that the shipping box had been sliced open, and the PCGS box within was empty,” Minshull said. “We immediately called PCGS, who confirmed that their security surveillance video showed that the box and package with the coin were shipped as usual and in good order. At that point, we contacted Brinks security and our insurance company, and their investigations have started. We have also reached out to the FBI.

“In my 29 years at Heritage I have not heard of a coin loss in a Brinks shipment before, so this is an extremely rare incident,” Minshull said.

The stolen coin is one of fewer than 50 examples extant from a recorded mintage of 3,789 double eagles struck at the Carson City Mint in Nevada during its inaugural year of production. The entire recorded production was released into circulation. All known examples show signs of wear.

Heritage officials note that the stolen coin is fully covered under the firm’s insurance, but still want the coin to be found. Added Minshull, “At this level of rarity, the coin will turn up in the marketplace sooner or later, and it will be identified because it’s so notable.” ■

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