Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Arlington Collection 1857-S DMPL $20 Gold Double Eagle from the SS Central America shipwreck

This is one of my favorite coins in The Arlington Collection.
(Click images to enlarge)

For shipwreck treasure collectors like myself, Type 1 double eagles (1850-1866) recovered from major shipwrecks like the S.S. Central America, S.S. Brother Jonathan, and S.S. Republic created some great excitement when they became available to collectors. They allowed us to add some beautiful gems to our collections. The Arlington Collection has an MS-65 example from each of the three shipwrecks, but it's this DMPL (Deep Mirror Proof-like) MS-63 example that, for me, stands out above all the others.

The Type 1 double eagle spanned some of the most memorable years in our nations history. It owes its existence, along with the gold dollar, to the California Gold Rush. The Type 1 came to an end when rising religious sentiment during the Civil War led to the Type 2 double eagle with the adding of the motto "In God We Trust" on the reverse.

Although this S.S. Central America shipwreck example from The Arlington Collection is not one of those graded MS-65, it is definitely one of my favorites. It is the only double eagle I have personally seen with the DMPL designation on its holder. This example is reportedly one of only seven S.S. Central America shipwreck coins graded as DMPL.

I have a number of double eagles with the PL (Proof-like) designation on their holders and yet this DMPL example is like nothing I have ever seen. The deep, dark orange coloring and deep mirror reflectiveness gives this coin a unique and very appealing appearance. Although the photos don't do this coin justice, they do give you a good idea of the difference in coloring from other double eagles.

But you really do have to see the coin in person to fully appreciate the difference. I have a friend that has told me if I ever sell my collection of double eagles, this is the coin that he wants first dibs on. My guess is that it will be my heirs that sell this coin. Fortunately for my friend, he's a good 10 years younger than me.

View other favorites in The Arlington Collection.


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