Click to enlargeJ452/P524

The so-called transitional double eagle with 'In God We Trust' on the reverse. This reverse was adopted in 1866. This forms part of a set along with the half eagle J445/P517 and eagle J449/P521. To view the entire set, click here.

These are believed to have been struck in 1865 as they use an unique reverse die with the motto hand cut into the die show a high N in IN and a low tilted G in GOD. The Smithsonian gold striking below shows a die crack in front of the one in the date which is present on several of the copper examples as well whereas the former Wilkison specimen does not and thus the 2 gold pieces were, at a minimum, probably not struck sequentially. It is important to note that the Mint collection acquired its set on November 20, 1892.

The first definite appearance of this design was in the April 1870 auction by John Haseltine of coins from the Idler collection. Idler is famous today as one of the collector/dealers who had "connections" with the mint. A possible earlier listing may be Cogan's September 1869 sale.

Examples were struck as follows:

Gold J452/P524. According to the June 1870 Mason & Co sale only 2 sets were struck. The set in the sale did not sell.

The piece illustrated above is the Woodin, Newcomer, Col Green, Boyd, Farouk, Wilkison, Simpson piece and the other, illustrated below is the Smithsonian piece which was acquired in 1892. It is unclear which piece was the one offered in the 1870 sale although traditionally it has been placed with the Farouk coin. I actually believe the Mint collection set was the one offered in 1870 and the Woodin set likely came from Snowden for returning the 2 1877 half unions. For more on that, click here.

Over a dozen are known in copper of J453/P526, several of which have been gilted.

An example in the Connecticut State Library ex D S. Wilson lot 1162, Mitchelson has been either silverplated or pickled. It is mentioned in Judd as being from the Robert Coulton Davis collection and was listed as J453A/P525 although this should not have a separate number. An earlier occurrence of this coin was probably lot 2438 in Woodward's 34th sale of 1881 where an example is described as probably a silverplated copper example. An example listed in aluminum J453B/P527 has not been seen since its original appearance in Woodward's 45th sale of the Dohrmann collection in 1882. The reverse is plated in the catalog and does not appear to be aluminum. It is probably a reappearance of the silverplated copper example as well.

Photo courtesy of the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution and PCGS.