Stunningly Rare 1861 Civil War Eagles Surface
By Brian Zweig
The Civil War was a defining and pivotal event in our nation’s history. Its effect on American society simply cannot be overstated, as the conflict affected virtually every aspect of daily life. The country’s monetary system was no exception. As is often the case during tumultuous times, precious metals prices skyrocketed during the Civil War. Consequently, most American coins suddenly had a higher melt value than face value. At one point, a $10 gold Eagle, for example, contained more like $11 or $12 worth of gold!
Since they were worth more “dead” than alive, many American gold coins vanished from circulation. Making matters worse, the cash-strapped federal government could not afford to replace these coins immediately. The U.S. Mint did not want to operate at a loss (why spend $12 to replace a $10 gold coin?) and furthermore, the war effort absorbed much of the Treasury’s available cash. Money that normally would have been used to buy gold was used for weapons and troop wages.
Eventually the U.S. government devised a solution: paper money. Whenever possible, the feds issued “IOUs” in lieu of actual specie. Merchants and citizens weren’t wild about accepting the fiat currency in lieu of tangible metal, but many did not have a choice. Coins made of actual bullion were essentially non-existent. By 1863, the situation became so desperate that citizens began using postage stamps as barter!
With paper currency filling the gap in our money system, coinage production plummeted. Gold coins were affected most profoundly; all denominations saw a dramatic drop in their annual mintages. In some extreme cases, the U.S. Mint essentially halted production altogether. The Quarter Eagle, for instance, was struck to the tune of 1.1 million pieces in 1861. By 1863, just thirty proofs were made for collectors and zero for circulation!
Of the few coins released into circulation, very few survived. Many landed in the melting pot within mere months of issue, as untold quantities of U.S. gold coins were destroyed during the 1860's. Those that escaped the Civil War era were subjected to further melting in the 1930's. When Theodore Roosevelt banned private gold ownership in 1933, even more coins were sent to the furnace. Between the tiny mintages and mass melting, coins from the Civil War are wildly scarce.
1861 $10 Gold Eagle
That’s what makes today’s offering so unusual. For the first time in our Spotlight program’s history, we’ve secured a group of Civil War era $10 Eagles. In fact, the coins we have available today are all dated 1861: the year conflict broke out between the North and the South. It’s believed that the overwhelming majority (likely 98-99%) of 1861 $10 Eagles were melted. However, somehow, a small pocket of specimens survived intact in About Uncirculated (AU) condition.
When they appear on the market, the average 1861 $10 Eagle is seen with extensive wear. Most pieces grade VF or XF, which translates to a numerical grade of 20 to 40. Coins in the 53-55 range are well outside the normal range. Furthermore, we’d argue that they represent the best value too. The next basic grade category is Uncirculated – and at that level you can expect to pay significantly more. This year, for example, a coin graded PCGS MS61 fetched $10,800 at auction. In AU, meanwhile, this same coin can be had for a fraction of the price.
Today, we can offer you up to 10 of the high-quality AU53 1861 $10 Eagles for just $2,099 or up to 12 of the AU55 1861 $10 Eagles for just $2,599 with FREE shipping* on all quantities ordered!
We remember travelling to major coin conventions and seeing just one 1861 $10 Eagle at the entire show. This date simply does not exist in any kind quantity. To find twenty-two (22) specimens in one place is truly remarkable – but it’s even more unusual to see them at such a reasonable price point. We’ve seen AU examples of this date trade for $3,000-$4,000 in recent years.
If you’re looking to add a truly unique piece of Civil War history to your collection, be sure to grab one of these 1861 $10 Eagles. There’s an excellent reason why we’ve never been able to offer this coin before: they’re virtually non-existent in the marketplace. Very few were made and even fewer survived the periods of mass-melting. Between the turbulent 1860's and the gold recall of the 1930's, less than 1% of all 1861 Eagles managed to survive. Despite their rarity and tremendous historic significance, these Civil War $10 pieces are still quite affordable. Even these high-quality pieces can still be had for under $3,000 each.
This unbeatable combination of rarity and value will likely generate tremendous client interest. Coins with such intriguing backstories never stay in our inventory for long. If you’d like to reserve one of these Civil War-era Eagles, we urge you to do so quickly. We predict a strong and rapid response to this offer and don’t want you to be left out!
To secure these remarkable coins today, please call us at 800-831-0007 or email us.
*Prices subject to change based on market fluctuation and product availability. Prices reflected are for cash, check, or bank wire. Free shipping, handling, and insurance are available for all quantities ordered. Offer expires Friday, December 7, 2018, or while supplies last.