Best Buy: The year was 1873…
1873 Type II $20 Liberty Gold
Unbeknownst to many, the year 1873 was a tumultuous period in American economic history. While the United States experienced a financial boom after the Civil War, this was later followed by the Panic of 1873 and a subsequent depression lasting until 1880. This period of uncertainty, dubbed ‘The Long Depression,’ had a record 65 months of economic contraction - longer than the Great Depression’s 45 months of shrinkage.
Demand for gold spiked during the Panic of 1873. The yellow metal surged in value relative to silver and gained popularity as a store of value. During the economic boom of the late 1860s and early 1870s, Americans invested in stocks and bonds that financed companies and infrastructure. As the economy slipped in 1873, those same investors fled to gold.
Coins are often referred to as history in your hands. The 1873 Double Eagle is perhaps the best example. We were lucky to find a beautiful group of 1873 ‘Type II’ $20 gold pieces, all in Uncirculated condition. These coins represent a direct link between numismatics and American history, and remarkably, have survived in Mint State condition. Normally, coins of such historical significance trade for dramatic premiums. They can be purchased now for less than double the cost of a common $20 Liberty in similar grades.
ASI is excited to offer this coin which may teach us a little history, as well as provide stability to your portfolio. Call 800-831-0007 or email me today to add these historic coins to your portfolio. Our limited supply will not last long at this price.
History and Rarity
As the United States reunited and healed after the Civil War, enormous investments were made in infrastructure. A staggering 30,000 miles of rail road were laid between 1868 and 1873, along with tremendous development in wharves and factories. This infrastructure would be needed by our prospering nation eventually, but it was too much too soon.
Investors failed to realize that investing in these projects would not generate a return until many years later. Thus, a considerable amount of the country’s investible assets were tied up in illiquid investments that could not spin off an immediate return.
The downturn began in 1873 when Jay Cooke & Company failed. This important banking firm could not liquidate several million dollars’ worth of railroad bonds and suddenly declared bankruptcy, sending shockwaves through the financial world. The New York Stock Exchange closed for ten days. Dozens of railroads failed in the following two months and American commerce essentially came to a screeching halt. Faith in banks, and paper assets like stocks and bonds, evaporated.
During this period, gold became the asset of choice. Americans were looking for a more reliable store of value, but silver was losing popularity. Prior to 1873, the United States agreed to buy silver from the public and convert it into coinage at a statutory rate. This stabilized the market for silver and gave it a fixed value. However, the Coinage Act of 1873 demonetized silver and moved the United
States to a de facto gold standard. This, coupled with the discovery of silver in Nevada, severely hurt silver prices while bolstering the value and attractiveness of gold.
The Philadelphia Mint responded quickly to gold’s newfound popularity. After anemic production levels of double eagles in 1872, the Mint increased production by a factor of six in 1873. Interestingly, the Mint basically ignored the $5 half eagle and $10 eagle denominations. They concentrated their efforts on striking $2.50 quarter eagles and $20 double eagles. The thought, perhaps, was $2.50 quarter eagles would be used by everyday Americans while $20 double eagles would be held by financial institutions.
The Mint produced an excessive number of coins and found itself with a surplus of double eagles. Demand for gold coins may have spiked, but the Mint went overboard. After cresting at 1.7 million pieces in 1873, mintages of $20 double eagles at the Philadelphia Mint plunged in 1874 and remained low well into the 1890s. In fact, the Philadelphia Mint only made 92 double eagles in 1883 and 71 in 1884. In ten years, Philadelphia’s $20 gold piece mintages plunged over 99.9%!
Numismatists speculate that many of the 1873 Double Eagles were eventually melted. After decades of repatriating U.S. gold coins from overseas, only a smattering of 1873 $20 coins has surfaced. Unlike dates in the 1880s through the early 20th century, very rarely have original rolls, let alone bags, of 1873 Double Eagles appeared.
Furthermore, PCGS and NGC have graded a very small number of Uncirculated 1873 $20s. Less than 1% of the original mintage has been certified in Mint State grades.
The true rarity of the 1873 $20 becomes stark when compared to the most common 1904 issue. In MS61, the 1873 double eagle is nearly 13 times scarcer. In MS62, the 1873 is 64 times rarer than its 1904 counterpart.
In addition to being very different in terms of rarity, the 1873 $20 also has a different appearance compared to the 1904 issue. The double eagles of late 1866 through 1876 are known as ‘Type II’ issues.
Unlike the Type I version minted from 1850 through early 1866, the Type II features the motto ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ on the reverse. In 1877, the obverse portrait was modified and the denomination ‘TWENTY D.’ was expanded to ‘TWENTY DOLLARS.’ Once collectors own a Type III Liberty Double Eagle, many aspire to own a Type II as well to augment their collection.
The 1873 Type II Double Eagle has steadily gained collector demand. As a testament to its rarity and numismatic appeal, the 1873 $20 did not lose value in 2013 and 2014 even as gold corrected.
Whereas common Type III double eagles saw some price reductions over the past twelve months, the Type II has not only held its value, rather, it jumped in price. In fact, NGC’s value guide shows a significant price jump from April
2014 to September 2014. MS61 coins spiked from $2,500 to $3,000 while MS62s up-ticked from $4,000 to $4,275.
ASI was fortunate to buy a group of Uncirculated 1873 $20s based on the ‘old’ prices before the spike.
We can offer a group of 32 MS61 coins at $2,390 each, which is a 20% discount to the NGC price guide of $3,000.
- In MS62s, we have 21 pieces available at $3,295 compared to an NGC valuation of $4,275.
- The MS61 coins are less than double the price of a common Type III 1904, yet are nearly 13 times rarer.
- In MS62, the 1873 $20 is an impressive 74x rarer than the 1904.
- An MS63 specimen would cost in excess of $10,000!
Take advantage of this month’s offer…
The 1873 ‘Type II’ Double Eagle is a historic coin produced in direct response to the Panic of 1873. These coins exist largely due to the country’s demand for gold and fear of paper investments. A significant percentage of the mintage was likely melted and only a small number of coins survived in Uncirculated condition. These coins are mostly seen in circulated and worn condition - Mint State specimens are very scarce.
As a legitimate rare coin, the 1873 $20 has held its value even as common dates have seen prices drop. In fact, the coin continued to climb in value in 2014 after ‘generic’ coins suffered. We are fortunate to have located a group of coins at the old price points and we’re passing the savings on to you!
This month, we put together just (53) of the following Type II $20 Liberties in the following two grades (certified by either NGC or PCGS):
MS-61 Type II $20 Liberty - call for price and avaliability
MS-62 Type II $20 Liberty - call for price and avaliability
This is the delivered price.* There is no additional cost for shipping, handling or insurance. While supplies last, the price you see is the price you pay.
Call – 800-831-0007
- or e-mail me today
to purchase your coins and to take advantage of this low price before the market discovers the price anomaly.
*Prices are subject to change based upon product availability and due to market fluctuation.