The 1876-CC 20-cent Piece
David Lawrence Rare
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The Legend of the 1876-CC 20-cent Piece
The 1876-CC might well be one of the most overlooked of all the great
numismatic rarities. Hailing from an original mintage of approximately
100,000 coins, only a handful remain today thanks to a number of unusual
circumstances of the day.
Early in 1877 the U.S. Treasury concluded that the 20-cent program was
indeed a failure. The coinage had never gained acceptance, and demand for
the coins was at an all-time low. This was especially true at the Carson
City mint, where the production of 1875-CC coins had yet to be exhausted.
In fact, the CC Mint facility was still doling out 1875-dated coins when
orders came in to melt the ENTIRE remaining inventory of 20-cent pieces.
The only exception to this was an unreported (small) number of 1876-dated
coins which were required to be shipped back to Washington to the Assay
office for record keeping.
The Collecting of Mintmarks
It is well known that collectors of the late 19th Century generally
pursued year-only sets. It wasn't until around 1893 that the pursuit of
dates AND mintmarks became a popular methodology. And it was then, nearly
20 years after their mintage, that the 1876-CC 20-cent piece was
determined to be an absolute rarity. At this time, the 1876-CC became
highly prized by the famous collectors of the day, including John Clapp
(who eventually sold his to Louis Eliasberg).
The number of known coins would surely number less than 10 today if not
for the existence of one small group which appeared on the market in the
late 1950's. According to Q. David Bowers, this "Maryland Estate hoard" is
most likely the coins which emerged from the Assay Commission request in
1876. Since this discovery almost no new examples have surfaced.
16 to 20 known Coins
While the exact number of known coins isn't known, numismatists
generally accept that there are "fewer than 21" (Bowers) and likely only
16 (Stacks). Of these at least 4 are circulated or otherwise lower than
MS60 in grade. The Registry of all known specimens can be found in Walter
Breen's Encyclopedia (this specimen is the plate coin in that book!), the
Eliasberg Collection Sale of 1997 (Bowers and Merena) and other catalogs.
* * *
This Coin: Boyd-Kern-Hydeman-Champa-Hawn Specimen
Of all the extant coins of this famous issue, the example we offer
here offers an equally exciting pedigree as well as boasting gem quality.
Graded MS65 by NGC, this coin is a lustrous gem with a light splash of
overall gold toning. As with all known genuine examples, the word LIBERTY
is boldly doubled.
It was last offered for sale by Stack's in February 2002, where it
realized $115,000 as an uncertified coin. Other recent auction records
include the Eliasberg specimen (4/1997) $136,000 and the James Stack coin
(3/1995) $99,000. Since these sales, the collecting market for true
rarities has exploded and we believe that the 1876-CC is truly undervalued
in the low six-figures.
Coin is for sale in January of 2003:
We offer this coin today for $175,000.
Please call or email John Feigenbaum or Win Callender if you would like
to discuss this coin in further detail and arrange a private viewing.
Sources from this article include the April 1997 Eliasberg Auction
Catalog, published by Bowers & Merena; the Stack's Auction Catalog of
David Lawrence Rare Coins · PO Box 1061 · Virginia Beach , VA 23451
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