Art Daily published this article, likely based on a press release from Bonhams & Butterfields. The firm is selling a U.S. 1870-CC $20 gold piece. Interesting story of a rare coin reappearing after fifty years off the market.
Bonhams & Butterfields announces its sale on September 4, 2011 of gold coins from the Estate of Hellen and Charles Mapes, of Reno, NV. The eponymous Collection, once owned by the famed hotel and casino mogul Charles Mapes, includes a rarely seen, high grade 1870-CC Liberty Double Eagle coin. This date and mint are well known to numismatists as the top Carson City rarity in the Liberty Double Eagle series. In fact, it is the rarest of all CC gold coinage.
This particular coin has been in the Mapes Collection since it was purchased in February of 1961 from the fabled Kreisberg-Schulman Auction of February 16-18, 1961 held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, and can be considered a "discovery" piece due to the length of time since its last offering 50 years ago. Knowledgeable researchers estimate that approximately 35 to 45 1870-CC $20 coins exist, most in the Very Fine to Extremely Fine grade range. It should be noted there are no Uncirculated (Mint State) examples presently known to either of the major grading services.
Paul Song, Director of the Rare Coins and Bank Notes Department, Bonhams & Butterfields, said of the coin: "We are estimating the Mapes 1870-CC Double Eagle to conservatively be $150,000-$180,000. This year marks the 50th year anniversary of Mr. Mapes' purchase of this ultra-rarity and this example has not seen the light of day for the past 50 years, making this example in effect a coin of the highest importance being offered after a half century in the depths of a safety deposit box."
At the time this coin was brought into Bonhams' offices, the client was unaware that this was in fact a classic rarity, and believed this coin to be the much more common 1870 $20, which is typically estimated between $1,500-2,000.
Song continues: "I really enjoyed looking at this nice old group of coins which had clearly been from an 'old time collection.' I looked at the three 1907 High Relief $20's and the two $50 California so-called slugs before I saw the 1870 $20. It was encased in a very unpretentious looking Capital Plastics holder, but when I flipped the coin over to look at the reverse to determine the condition of the coin, the CC mintmark simply jumped out at me. It was a true surprise, and also for our client.
To read the complete article, see:
Newly Rediscovered, Ultra Rare 1870-Cc $20 Gold Coin on the Auction Block
Wayne Homren, Editor
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