1861-S $20 Liberty NGC AU55 Ex.S.S. Republic. The discovery of the S.S. Republic and the subsequent availability of the valuable contents of it’s precious cargo has influenced a significant part of the collecting population to want to have their own piece of the history. For the 1861-S $20 double eagle, there were 98 coins recovered of which NGC has encapsulated 92. This is fairly significant since the extant population was barely twice this number before the shipwreck recovery. Most of those coins recovered ended up grading AU55 and AU58. A few choice coins found their way into mint state holders. Heritage recently offered one of them – an NGC MS61. In their January 2017 FUN Sale catalog, we quote part of the original written description:
“…This San Francisco issue had a healthy mintage of 768,000 coins, yet it is a significant condition rarity in Mint State. Doug Winter’s doubleeaglebook.com provides the following commentary: “The discovery of eleven Uncirculated 1861-S double eagles from the S.S. Republic treasure virtually doubled the total number of Uncirculated 1861-S double eagles. The 1861-S remains rare in Uncirculated with most in the MS60 to MS61 range. There are probably just five or six properly graded MS62’s and this date is unique in MS63.” This impressive double eagle, one of the 11 Uncirculated coins traced to the S.S. Republic and housed in its original holder with CAC approval…”
This MS61 coin brought a commanding $22,913 after spirited bidding. What we find a huge curiosity is the number of S.S. Republic coins offered publicly for sale over the past twenty years. We can only locate two (2) MS61 examples; one (1) MS60 coin (2005); one (1) AU58 coin (2013); and after that – a single NGC AU53 coin. We wonder where exactly they all went…!