US Coins

1886 Coronet $20 double eagle ‘affordable’ at $48,000

A bright and reflective 1886 $20 double eagle graded AU Details, Polished, provided an entry-level opportunity to acquire this rare date at $48,000.

An 1836 Classic Head gold $2.50 quarter eagle graded Proof 65+ Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a Certified Acceptance Corp. green sticker realized $396,000 and emerged as the top lot of Heritage’s April 26 Platinum Night auction held at the Central States Numismatic Society’s annual convention in Schaumburg, Illinois. Heritage’s CSNS U.S. coin auctions totaled nearly $21 million, and rare gold coins led bidding.

Not all inscription ‘misspellings’ are true misspellingsNot all inscription ‘misspellings’ are true misspellings: Mike Diamond reports on coins that, at first glance, appear to have misspelled legends or dates but, with closer study, are found to have die defects that are misleading.

Here is one of the low mintage Coronet gold $20 double eagles from the collection of S. Gus and Louise Alexander that demonstrate the sustained demand for fresh-to-market coins in this always popular series:

The Lot:

1886 Coronet $20 double eagle, AU Details, Polished

The Price:


The Story:

Only 1,000 1886 Coronet gold $20 double eagles were struck, and today perhaps 40 to 60 are known, making this another rare issue in the series. All are expensive, so this one, graded PCGS AU Details, Polished, is a relatively affordable example. However, at $48,000, “affordable” is relative.

The offered coin exhibited the telltale unnaturally reflective surfaces and brightness from polishing, as well as some scattered marks, but also offered sharp detail and little evidence of circulation wear.

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Neither the San Francisco nor the Carson City Mints struck double eagles in 1886, leaving the Philadelphia Mint coins as the only ones available for collectors building date sets. A Numismatic Guaranty Corp. AU-50+ example brought $78,000 at Heritage’s 2018 auction in Tampa, Florida, which provides a reference point to understand how polishing decreases value.

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