1872-CC LIBERTY HEAD - TYPE 2 $20
The Carson City mint showed greater skill in striking the 1872-CC than its preceding two Double Eagle issues. By most numismatists' standards, this is the first readily collectible Double Eagle from the Nevada branch mint. The 'commonality' of the 1872-CC, however, ends abruptly as one crosses into the Uncirculated grade range. This was a heavily circulated issue and most surviving examples are well worn and not the type of coins that choosy collectors prefer. In addition, a small number of lightweight and debased Carson City coins dated 1872-1873 were discovered by local citizens around the time of their issue. The resulting loss of confidence in their local mint forced numerous area residents to file the edges and otherwise test every Carson City coin that passed through their hands. While this practice probably spared financial heartache to the tester, it undoubtedly lowered the surviving population of high grade, problem-free 1872-CC Double Eagles available in today's market.
The ease with which blood flowed during the Civil War led to a religious revival in the United States that found its expression in coinage with the addition of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to many denominations. In the case of the Double Eagle, the Mint made this addition quite easily in 1866 by placing the wording within the oval of stars above the eagle's head on the reverse. The Type II design, as it has since become known, remained in production through 1876, after which it was further modified by changing the appearance of the reverse denomination from TWENTY D. to TWENTY DOLLARS. This type is rightly recognized as the most conditionally challenging in the entire Liberty Double Eagle series, and Mint State survivors of all issues are scarce from a market availability standpoint, if not downright rare in an absolute sense.