As incredible as it seems, this is the second $20 Liberty Head Obverse Die to surface in the last two years. The first Die that was recently discovered was an 1882 Type III, which eventually sold for approximately $20,000 last year in a Bowers & Merena Auction.
This United States 1872 $20 Liberty Head Obverse Die is of the rarer Type II variety, which were struck for only 11 years from 1866 to 1876. This die struck the obverse design of the $20 Liberty Head double eagle gold coin over 130 years ago and is one of the only known dies from the nineteenth century that struck gold coins.
Not only would this be an amazing centerpiece to a United States gold coin collection, it is of such numismatic importance that it could be placed in a historical museum or collection of Gold Rush artifacts and antiquities.
This Die was recently discovered and purchased by a Philadelphia dealer whose specialty is antiquities and ancient coins. Mike Byers from Byers Numismatic Corp. purchased this die and it is currently for sale.
Fred Weinberg, PCGS authenticator for mint errors, numismatic author, scholar, and expert on the minting process, who examined the 1882 $20 Liberty Head Die noted that "this die, possibly one of two known $20 Gold Liberty dies, is the only one available on the market at this time, and not displayed in a Museum."
Doug Winter, numismatic author, scholar, and expert on rare United States gold coins, also examined the 1882 $20 Liberty Head Die and stated that "it would be hard to imagine a more significant piece of numismatic history for the gold coin collector than this 1882 Double Eagle obverse die."
In 1872 Double Eagles were produced at the Philadelphia, Carson City and San Francisco Mints. Here are the original mintage figures for the three Branch Mints:
Philadelphia - 251,880
Carson City - 26,900
San Francisco - 780,000
1872 is a scarcer date in the short lived series of the Type II $20 gold piece.