In the Spotlight: The Arlington Collection S.S. Republic 1860-O $20 Liberty Head Gold Double Eagle (Finest Known!)
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CERTIFICATION: NGC MS60PL
This 1860-O double eagle is the most recent acquisition by The Arlington Collection and is currently the finest, and only known, example in mint state. I paid a high price to acquire this coin by giving up my example of one of the great rarities in the 1854-O, which was graded AU53 by NGC. Although I now have a hole in my set of type 1 double eagles, I consider this to be an upgrade to the set since this 1860-O is a truly unique coin where the 1854-O was not. Although others might disagree with the wisdom of this choice, I am happy with it.
This 1860-O double eagle graded MS60PL is the only example graded mint state by either PCGS or NGC making it the finest example known. Out of close to 2,500 double eagles recovered from the SS Republic shipwreck, this is the only example found of the 1860-O showing just how rare this coin is. No other shipwrecks have been found with examples of this coin.
Although the 1854-O and 1856-O are considered the great rarities of the type 1 double eagles, the 1860-O along with the 1855-O and 1859-O are considered the next level of great rarities in the series. With a mintage of just 6,600 coins, the 1860-O had the third lowest mintage of the type 1 double eagles which is lower than the mintages of the more famous 1861-S Paquet and 1866-S No Motto rarities. This trio of 1855-O, 1859-O, and 1860-O have shown tremendous price appreciation over the past few years. With the popularity of type 1 double eagles on the increase, this trend may continue, but lower grade examples are still within the reach of many collectors.
Most reference guides generally assume about a 1% survival rate of type 1 double eagles which would mean that about 66 examples might exist. I'm a little more conservative in my estimates of 90 to 100 examples being out there. There is no doubt that most 1860-O examples were released into circulation. Even with all the double eagles repatriated from European banks in the 1990's, a mint state example failed to appear. . . until now!
SS Republic Population: 1/0 finer (Only 1860-O found in wreck)
NGC Population: 1/0 finer
PCGS Population: 0/0 finer
Overall Rarity: Approx. 90-100
Mint State Rarity: Approx. 1-2
Overall Rank: 5 of 44 coins
Mint State Rank: 4 of 44 coins
Mintage Rank *: 3 of 42 coins
* 42 coins due to 1853 and 1854 varieties being combined
Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins: 1795 - 1933, Circulating, Proof, Commemorative, and Pattern Issues
A guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins: A Complete History and Price Guide