1854-O LIBERTY HEAD $20 AU58
THE KEY DATE. ONLY 3,250 STRUCK. TIED WITH 3 OTHER COINS FOR HIGHEST GRADED.
A.D. Crossman, one of the greatest mayors to ever grace New Orleans, ended his fourth and final term in office on March 26, 1854. Crossman was a north-eastern native who had moved down to south to open his own business, where he would become quite the successful merchant and banker in a short period. When Crossman won his first election on the ticket as a Whig in 1846 he narrowly beat the Democratic representative by a little under two-hundred votes. In his time as mayor, he successfully reformed several city policies, handled and balanced finances, and managed the worst yellow fever outbreak the city had ever seen. This outbreak, which last from 1853 to 1854, took the lives of nearly ten thousand New Orleans citizens. Suffice it to say the city was certainly in a low place, but the Mayor Crossman managed to keep it afloat and functioning.
At this time the New Orleans mint had been striking coins since 1850 including this fantastical 1854-O Double Eagle. Mint numbers from this branch mint were considered average at first, but it dropped steeply for 1854; only 3,250 twenty dollar coins were minted. That number is significantly low compared to modern numbers and made the chance of surviving the 1933 revocation even slimmer. Today this coin is “…considered a hallmark of a truly great coin collection…” as only a few twenty-five to thirty are known to have survived. Furthermore, due to high usage these are not known to be in high grades. In fact this coin is tied with three others for highest graded. As one of the coins represented in the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins it is truly an American coinage icon.