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$20.00 Double Eagles (Liberty 1850-1907)

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$20 Liberty Gold Double Eagles at BGASC

From the introduction of the $20 Double Eagle denomination in 1850 until the 20th century, there was one design that dominated the design of America’s largest denomination of gold currency. Introduced in the aftermath of the California Gold Rush, the $20 Double Eagle was the fourth and final denomination of the US Eagle. Predominantly used in international commerce between the US and global trade partners, the Double Eagle is a popular item among collectors today.

Debut

With an influx of gold hitting the US Treasury in the years during and immediately after the California Gold Rush, the decision was made by the United States Mint to add a $20 (USD) denomination to the existing US Eagle gold series. The $20 Double Eagle was first struck by the United States Mint in 1849, but was only struck as a pattern coin, or proof specimen, to validate the design and coining process. Circulation production began the next year in 1850.

Liberty Double Eagle Series

The $20 Liberty Gold Double Eagle was designed by James B. Longacre, the 4th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. His design borrowed heavily from his predecessor, Christian Gobrecht’s, Liberty Head design. The coins feature a left-profile bust of Liberty wearing a coronet crown with an arch of 13 stars around her portrait and a date mark at the bottom. For the reverse, Longacre created an ornate version of the heraldic eagle of the United States. Known as the Great Seal of the United states, this design features a front-facing bald eagle with the US national shield, a circle of 13 stars over its head, sun rays connecting the tips of its outstretched wings, and the arrows of war and olive branch of peace in its talons.

Design Modifications

Longacre’s design for the $20 Liberty Double Eagle was the longest-used design in the series, featuring on the coins for a total of 58 issues from 1850 to 1907. Over the course of these 58 releases of the coins, three variations of the coin’s original design were available. The notable changes all came on the reverse of the coin and consisted of the following:

  • Type 1 – no national motto and a face value noted as TWENTY D. (1850-1866)
  • Type 2 – national motto of IN GOD WE TRUST added to the ring of stars (1866-1876)
  • Type 3 – national motto with the face value now noted as TWENTY DOLLARS (1877-1907)

Certified $20 Liberty Gold Double Eagles

When it comes to buying $20 Liberty Gold Double Eagles, you’ll find plenty of coins that showcase wear, tear, damage, and other flaws consistent with coins that were handled or used in circulation over the last two centuries. However, you’ll also find a number of coins certified in Mint State conditions by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation or the Professional Coin Grading Service.

Collect $20 Liberty Gold Double Eagles from BGASC

If you’re interested in adding these historic gold coins to your portfolio, BGASC customer service is happy to help answer your questions. You can call us at 888-992-4272, chat with us online, or email us directly.