Editor's Note: This spectacular $20 Liberty Gold Piece is the only off-center known. It was struck 15% off-center and certified MS 63 by PCGS. It was in Fred Weinberg's personal mint error collection for over 20 years and was one of his favorite mint errors of all time. This is a world-class U.S. $20 gold piece for the serious collector and belongs in the finest collection of United States $20 Liberty Gold Pieces or Mint Errors. I immediately purchased this off-center $20 Liberty raw from Fred, certified it at PCGS and sold it to a customer. Very recently, it resold in a Heritage Auction for $132,000.
Images Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com
From the Heritage auction listing:
1904 $20 -- Struck 15% Off Center -- MS63 PCGS.
The 2010 Whitman reference 100 Greatest U.S. Error Coins
ranks this remarkable double eagle as #7, the highest rank of any off-center error. The authors (Nicholas P. Brown, David J. Camire, and Fred Weinberg) state that the coin was discovered in Geneva, Switzerland, in the early 1990s. It actually first surfaced with the late Victor Goudoury of Monte Carlo at the 1990 ANA in Seattle. It was the only U.S. coin set aside for Marc Emory of Heritage in a collection of world gold. The collection had apparently been buried for decades, a relatively common occurrence during World War II. All the coins in the collection showed evidence of rust, clay, or other debris on their surfaces. It was sold privately and later placed in a Heritage auction. It is the only known off-center double eagle.
The authors add,
" ... it made its first appearance at auction in 1993 and ... resided in a private collection for 15 years before changing hands again, and is now in another prominent collection of U.S. Mint errors. As would be expected, the rarity of an off-center gold coin corresponds to its size and denomination. There are 8 to 10 known off-center gold dollars, two or three Liberty quarter eagles, six to eight Indian quarter eagles, four to five Liberty half eagles, and three to four Liberty eagles known."
In the 2009 Mike Byers reference World's Greatest Mint Errors
, the present coin is ranked number 1 in the category of Off-Center Strikes (Chapter 18). Byers wrote, "this incredible Liberty double eagle is the farthest off-center error known for a United States gold coin. It is struck approximately 15% off center at [toward] 5 o'clock."
The off-center strike affects S OF AMER, with the tops of those letters off the planchet. The reverse peripheral legend exhibits the bifurcation toward the rim typical of an off-center error, since no collar die is present to restrain metal flow toward the border. The orange-gold surfaces are lustrous and only lightly abraded for the MS63 level. The strike is bold and the eye appeal is excellent.
Ex: Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2014), lot 5678, where it sold for $79,313.01.