June 18, 2012
Pinnacle Rarities has purchased the Number Two Twenty Cent, Circulation Strikes (1875-1876) PCG S Registry Set currently listed as the San Diego Collection. The full date set is comprised of a mere four coins. The Professional Coin Grading Service divides collector sets for Twenty cent coinage, removing the uber-rare 1876-CC from the circulating strike listing to make the set more obtainable. Only about a dozen 76-CC examples are known. This set would rank #2 among the "with 76-CC" sets even without this ultra rarity.
The denomination was produced through 1878, but only proof examples were struck in 1877 and 1878. They were only released for circulation for two years, making the twenty cent U.S. coin the shortest-lived denomination in American history.
From the onset, the twenty cent piece was not popular. It was easily confused with the circulating quarter of the era despite its smaller size, different reverse and lack of reeding in the rims. In fact, it is reported that circulating examples traded as quarters (intentionally or not) into the 20th century.
The coin was borne from a desire to increase U.S. silver circulating through international commerce channels. John Percival Jones, Senator from Nevada and representative of Comstock Lode miners, spearheaded the push for the coinage.
During the 1870s, the French silver franc was widely in use internationally and included a 20/100 valued coin. This French-franc decimal denomination is still in use with a 20/100 Euro example and no "quarter." The United States was not the only North American country trying to attract international demand for their coinage. Canada and Newfoundland (not yet part of Canada) both produced the denomination during roughly the same period. Interestingly, the denomination was a short-lived series in those countries too.
A number of patterns were produced in anticipation of the new denomination. However, Gobrecht's seated motif was eventually used. The reverse eagle design was by William Barber and is also featured on the reverse of the Trade Dollar minted during the same period. During the series’ short run, less than 1.4 million examples were produced. Over a million of these were the first-year issue 1875-S. With the immediate public distaste, mintages were reduced the following year. By 1877, the Mint had ceased production of circulating strikes, and ordered the Carson City Branch Mint to melt all they had on hand. A number of 1875-CC and nearly the complete mintage of 1876-CC examples were subsequently destroyed, creating one of the most treasured rarities in numismatics. The short life, the unusual denomination and eventual melting all add to the mystique and allure of the series.
Kathleen Duncan, co-owner of Pinnacle Rarities, Inc. explains, "We were excited to acquire this collection, as some of these dates only surface in these conditions once or twice a decade. We love these particular examples for both their rarity and exquisite color."
The set is comprised of the following: