Carson City $20 Liberty fetches $1.6m

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16 November 2021
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Heritage Auctions' recent US Coins Signature Auction featured a series of 'Old West wonders' including an 1870 'Carson City' gold coin which achieved a record-breaking price of $1,620,000 (approximately £1,211,355). 

Carson City gold is well known as an avidly collected area of United States numismatics - and the $20 Liberty that sold at the US sale is one of the rare survivors out of the 3,789 reportedly minted.

The Carson City Mint was in operation at the peak of the silver boom and was located near a silver mine. Fifty issues of silver coins and 57 issues of gold coins were minted in Carson City, Nevada, between 1870 and 1893 and each featured the "CC" mint mark.


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Sarah Miller, Heritage Auctions' Senior Vice President, said:

"The market for Carson City coinage continues to be very active, especially for scarce dates or top-grade examples. CC $20s in particular led the charge with strong bidding, as these three offerings from The Prestwick Collection soared past anticipated levels to find new homes with passionate collectors."

Other Carson City coins included:

  • An 1872-CC double eagle $20, which realised $144,000
     
  • An 1877-CC Liberty Double Eagle, graded MS62, which also sold for $144,000, and is highly regarded as a scarce Carson City date. The coin was described as a historic piece, as the design of the double eagle was slightly modified in 1877, with the text 'TWENTY DOLLARS', replacing 'TWENTY D' – the only major design modification of U.S. gold coinage that took place during the years the Carson City Mint was operational.
     
  • An 1875-CC 20 cent piece, graded MS66, which sold for $84,000. The 20 cent denomination wasn't well-received upon minting - in part because it closely resembled the quarter dollar - and some of the coins were retained by the mint until they were eventually melted in May 1877 upon orders from the mint's director.