US Coins

Market Analysis: Who struck this 1861-O double eagle?

1861-O Coronet $20 double eagles were struck under the authority of the United States, the State of Louisiana and the Confederacy, and all were struck from one die pair. This one graded AU-55 sold for $48,000.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

In contrast with the 1861-D Indian Head gold dollar, where all examples were struck under Confederate authority, the entity striking any specific 1861-O Coronet $20 double eagle is less clear.

The mintage includes 5,000 pieces that were struck when the New Orleans Mint was under United States authority, 9,750 coined while it was operated under the state of Louisiana, and 2,991 produced during Confederate occupancy.

One die pair is known for the entire mintage. The obverse die especially wore during its lifetime, and some examples show a die crack from the rim, past the right side of star 2 toward Liberty’s chin that creeps up to stars 3 and 4, while other examples show the base of the 8 in the date hand-reengraved. Some authorities suspect those may be Confederate-struck coins.

The offered coin graded About Uncirculated 55 by Numismatic Guaranty Co. has a weak date, with Heritage noting that the absence of a die crack suggests that it was struck under United States control or possibly State of Louisiana operation. It shows rich honey-gold surfaces and pale orange toning, and realized $48,000.

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