Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 60

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Lot 2979

1866 $10 Liberty. With motto. NGC graded MS-60. Normal amount of bag marks for the grade. Lightly toned. 3,750 pieces struck. An insignificant number of With Motto Eagles were coined at Philadelphia this year. Due to the large circulation of fiat paper money (greenbacks) used to finance the North's armies during the American Civil War, Gresham's famous dictum or law began to work its effects on the Eastern Seaboard. The bad money -- in this case, the greenbacks -- drove the good money, gold and silver, to a premium. Coinage of Eagles, as well as other smaller denominations, dwindled as the 1860s gave way to the 1870s. Few miners or bankers wished to send their bullion in for minting anything but the largest coins. Double Eagle coinage continued high, of course, since this denomination was required to pay for imports; many were exported to Britain and the Continent. This is where the mint concentrated. It was a combination of domestic stinginess and increase in export demand that, 126 years later, made collectors yearn to buy these low mintage Ten Dollar Gold pieces. This lustrous example is tied with one other as the second finest grade assigned by NGC. The striking details are sharp and well defined in all areas while the fields show a dusky golden gleam. Natural reddish patina covers each side of this important rare gold coin. Pop 2; 2 finer in 61 (PCGS # 8649) .

Monetary stress in the country: There was a "broad drop in prices" following the end of the American Civil War (1861-65). From 1866-1879, prices (and wages) declined steadily. This can be attributed to the withdrawal of a large portion of the paper money (the greenbacks) which had been issued to finance the Civil War (official name, War of the Rebellion). While greenbacks were accepted in most of the country, in California (which had a pro-gold sentiment from the Gold Rush '49ers) there was active civil disobedience. People refused to obey the legal tender law, which the authorities found unenforceable. If you tried to pay in greenbacks, people would boycott you and drive you out of business. So California remained on the gold standard through the war. Prices did not decline there from 1866-1879 as they did in much of the rest of the country.
Estimated Value $19,000 - 20,000.


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