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PCGS Around the World: An American 1882 $20 in Paris


1882 $20 Liberty PCGS AU53. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

A continued theme for submissions to the PCGS office in Paris is the new discovery of rare United States gold coinage. This can be attributed to the tons of United States gold which moved its way to Europe. Recently a problem-free rarity – an 1882 $20 Liberty Head – was one such coin to surface in a Paris Express submission.

The 1882 $20 is the rarest date of James Longacre’s $20 Liberty designs, with a mintage of only 571 pieces. An additional 59 examples were struck in proof. The only $20 struck for circulation that is rarer is the 1861 Philadelphia Mint issue of the Paquet Reverse variety. No circulation 1883 or 1884 $20 coins were struck, making both of those proof only issues. While the mintage is only 571 for the 1882 business-strike $20, the survival rate is much lower with some estimating as low as 38 examples known. Currently, PCGS has a population report showing just 21 examples have been assigned a numeric grade and an alternative grading service has a mere 13 giving a population of 34. However, it is likely that there is multiple duplication in these numbers.

Condition is also an issue with the 1882 $20 coins. The finest-known graded by PCGS are two in MS61 in the population report. An example of the MS61 is currently in the finest $20 Liberty set owned by D.L. Hansen. The last sales record for an 1882 Liberty Head Double Eagle was by Heritage Auctions on July 14, 2022. The specimen, hailing from The Allan H. Goldman Collection, was certified XF45 by PCGS and set a new auction record of $114,000, including the buyer’s premium.

In February 2022, a submission from the PCGS office in Paris contained an 1882 $20. This coin, after being authenticated by the PCGS team, was graded and certified AU53. This ranks the coin in the top 10 examples certified by PCGS with a PCGS Price Guide value of $125,000.

History Liberty Double Eagles (1849-1907)

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