Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 65

Lot 2131

1866-S. No motto. NGC graded AU-55. Untoned with plenty of frosty mint luster still intact. The year 1866 was a year of transition in silver coins. Patriotic fervor arising out of the trauma of Civil War gave birth to demands for a religious motto to be added to Americas coinage. In 1861, 1862, and 1863, two variations of this motto were used on Pattern coins. The first, GOD OUR TRUST, was rejected; the more poetic IN GOD WE TRUST sounded better and was included on the new Two-cent Pieces of 1864 and Shield Nickels of 1866. The Act of March 3, 1865 included a clause mandating this motto. However, it took Philadelphia Mint some months to add it to the production dies. (Philadelphia makes dies for all branch mints). For this reason, a few No Motto Twenty Dollar Gold pieces were made at San Francisco before the new With Motto reverse dies arrived. The present piece is one of those estimated 12,000 struck. Not many come on the market in any one year.

Approximately 200 examples of this rare issue still exist today (Dave Bowers gave a range of 175 to 250 pieces), and nearly all grade Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Only a few About Uncirculated examples remain, perhaps two dozen in total. A quarter century ago, David Akers stated that only two AU examples were known to him. This example has brilliant yellow-gold surfaces with a fine display of frosty luster. Both sides have nearly full mint bloom, in fact, and have only been slightly touched by circulation. Traces of wear are visible on Liberty's cheek and top hair curls. The reverse is just as close to Mint State without evidence of noticeable wear. Both sides are sharply struck with full design details. The stars around the obverse are fully defined excepting the first 4 and even the reverse stars have some design details. Minor abrasions are evident, somewhat heavier on the obverse with prominent marks on Libertys face and jaw. Lighter marks appear above the rays on the reverse. An outstanding high-end specimen of this rare No Motto issue. Pop 21; 7 in 58, 2 in 60, 1 in 61, 1 in 62 (PCGS # 8945) .
Estimated Value $40,000 - 50,000.

Realized $60,375

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