Very Rare $20 Lib – 1881 Liberty Double Eagle PCGS AU55

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Only 2,199 circulation strike double eagles were produced by the Philadelphia Mint in 1881, kicking off a run of low-to-negligible double eagle production from the Mint lasting until its nadir, the proof-only 1887 issue.

During this time, silver dollar production reached unprecedented totals, a trend that would continue until the early 1890s.

It is estimated that fewer than 60 pieces of the rare 1881 twenty survive in all grades.

The coin offered here looks a bit lighter, brighter and more lustrous in hand than it appears in our images. 


Ron Guth: Whether because of new discoveries over the years or improvements in the way coins are evaluated, there are now several low-end Uncs. available of the 1881 $20. 

None are choice, but at least collectors have a shot at competing for them. 

The best of these coins is a PCGS MS62 (which is quite possibly the Dallas Bank example). 

The price-record-setter for this date was a PCGS MS61 that sold for $152,750 in a 2014 Heritage sale.

David Akers (1975/88): The 1881 is the first of a run of seven ultra low mintage issues from the Philadelphia Mint.

Overall, the 1881 is almost identical in rarity to the lower mintage 1885 and just a little less rare than the 1886.

In AU or Unc., however, the 1881 is possibly the rarest of the three. (The same might be said for the 1886 but one thing is for certain, the 1885 is the most common of the three in high grade.)

The 1881 is not quite as rare as the proof-only 1887 or 1882, and, of course, it is also not as rare as the 1883 or 1884.

Most known 1881's grade EF or so and always have a prooflike or partially prooflike surface.

A few AU's are known and there is one Unc-60 example in a Texas collection.

I have neither seen or heard of a choice or gem mint state example and the Texas coin may be the only known unc.

Listed at $69,000 and $72,500 in the CDN CPG, PCGS price guide and Trends, respectively.

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