David Akers (1975/88): The 1876-S is one of the commonest of all S-Mint Liberty Head Double Eagles and it is easy to obtain in any grade from VF to average uncirculated (Unc-60). In choice mint state, however, it is very scarce and in MS-65 or better condition it is decidedly rare. As a date, the 1876-S is significantly less rare than the 1974-S or 1875-S and it is most comparable to such common later issues as the 1899-S and 1900-S. Like the 1875-CC which is relatively common, even in Unc., the 1876-S is higher priced than many of the rarer later issues only because it is a Type II and thus is in greater demand as a type coin. For example, the 1876-S is not as rare in Unc. as the 1877-S through 1882-S San Francisco Mint issues and yet an uncirculated 1876-S would probably bring more at auction than a mint state example of the others.
The 1876-S $20 was well-represented in the Saddle Ridge Hoard by twenty-seven examples, all of which were gradeable except for a single coin. The three best coins in this group graded out at PCGS MS64, which tied them with a dozen other examples for Third Finest.
Heritage 1/2010:2257, $207,000
Stack's/Bowers 3/2012:7840, $31,625