1879-O Liberty Head Double Eagle. Winter-1, the only known dies. AU-53 (PCGS). Sharply struck with virtually full detail remaining to both sides, this is an outstanding absolute and condition rarity in a Type III Liberty Head double eagle. Warmly and evenly patinated in honey-gold, the surfaces are lustrous for the grade with mottled rose-russet highlights also evident.</p><p>Alone among New Orleans Mint double eagles of the Type III Liberty Head design type, the 1879-O was produced upon the reopening of the New Orleans Mint after its forced closure at the onset of the Civil War. The reason for this mintage is unknown, as the governments primary purpose in reopening the New Orleans facility in 1879 was to aid in the production of Morgan silver dollars. The 1879-O double eagle may have been produced simply to mark the historic resumption of coinage in New Orleans, a theory that gains support when we consider than the mintage of this issue is a token 2,325 pieces.</p><p>Regardless of exactly why they were produced, many examples of the 1879-O were exported alongside other double eagles of the era as part of international transactions. Fewer than 150 coins are extant, generally in EF or AU, and mostly thanks to repatriations from foreign bank hoards in recent decades. With such a limited number of examples known, the 1879-O is obviously a leading rarity in the Southern gold series. Doug Winter (2020) ranks this issue sixth in rarity among New Orleans Mint double eagles after the 1856-O, 1854-O, 1855-O, 1859-O and 1860-O. The present example is a highlight of the extensive double eagle offerings from the Fairmont Collection, and it is sure to have no difficulty finding its way into an advanced cabinet.</p> PCGS# 8990. NGC ID: 26B8. PCGS Population: 7; 17 finer, just three of which are Mint State (MS-62 finest). From the Fairmont Collection - JBR Set.