Home Gold U.S. Gold Coins Pre-1933 Gold Coins $20 Gold Double Eagles Random Date 1850-1907 Liberty Head $20 Gold Double Eagle AU

Random Date 1850-1907 Liberty Head $20 Gold Double Eagle AU

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Random Date 1850-1907 Liberty Head $20 Gold Double Eagle AU

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History of the $20 Liberty Double Eagle gold coin

The original coinage act of 1780 allowed for the minting of gold coins to include up to the $10 "Eagle." Although consideration had been made to mint a $20 gold coin in 1836, the issue was set aside until the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill near Sacramento, California in 1848. This discovery would change many things about the United States, including the face of its coinage.

So much gold was being assayed, the need to monetize the metal in larger than $10 increments was necessary. Although it was known that a $20 denomination would likely not be popular in commerce, the decision to make the "Double Eagle" was made in January, 1849, when North Carolina Congressman James McKay changed his legislation for the incorporation of a gold dollar coin to include this new, massive denomination. He even went so far as to say that he thought such a coin would be "handsome." Although there was usual debate in the House over adopting the coin, it was signed into law by President James K. Polk on March 3, 1849.

Designing a new Double Eagle Liberty gold coin

In 1849 James Barton Longacre was the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. He began the process of designing the new coin, but his progress in issuing the new coin was hampered by a long series of unfortunate - likely deliberate - occurrences. He was able to straighten out the problems that plagued the mint, and finally issued the new coins in production quantity in 1850 only after one single test piece had been minted as a "pattern" the previous year.

The design of the new coin was described as "routine" by many in congress when it made its debut, but the popularity of the coin then - and now - proves that "routine" could be just what the nation needed at the time.

Variations in $20 Double Eagle Design

The obverse side of the $20 Liberty double eagle gold coin remained steady throughout the production run of the series with only very minor alterations. The reverse, however, while appearing similar to one another with the heraldic eagle design,comes in three major variations:

  • Type 1 (1849-1866): Longacre's original design which consisted of the eagle, "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" along the upper rim, and an abbreviated denomination "TWENTY D." along the lower rim. There was a revision to the design made in 1860 that used taller, thinner letters in the inscriptions, but this revised design was short-lived because the coins did not stack properly.

  • Type 2 (1866-1876): With the nation suffering through a Civil War, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received a request that our coinage bear an expression of faith in God. In 1864 the new two-cent piece was the first to adopt the new motto, "In God We Trust." Longacre began redesigning the existing denominations bearing the new inscription, and made it to the $20 double eagles late in 1865, but saved the new reverse to be used with the new year's coins in 1866.

  • Type 3 (1876-1907): Besides a number of minor changes to the design, William Barber, the new Chief Engraver, changed the spelling of the denomination on the reverse side of the $20 Double Eagle to incorporate full words. It was changed to "TWENTY DOLLARS." This design variation was used in production until the design's replacement in 1907 by the Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle.

The "About Uncirculated (AU)" grade

Coins are graded using a scale from 1 (poor) to 70 (perfect as-struck). These coins grade between 50 and 58, meaning that most of the original luster is still present, however there will be light points of wear at the highest parts of the design either through normal pocket wear or by stacking the coins together. All of the main - as well as most of the minor - design characteristics remain intact, and the coin displays an overall pleasing eye appeal.

Of specific note is the fact that the nomenclature used for this grade is properly "About Uncirculated." The term "Almost Uncirculated" is commonly used, but is incorrect according to all major standards of grading coins.

About Uncirculated coins are a very popular way to collect coins that are usually quite a bit less expensive than the same coins with no wear, but still have much of the appeal of their uncirculated siblings.

This Random Date 1850-1907 Liberty Head $20 Gold Double Eagle AU is proudly minted by the U.S. Mint. The United States Mint was founded in 1792 and manufactures circulating, collectible, and bullion coinage.

Year of Issue:1850-1907
Mint:U.S. Mint
Grading Service:Uncertified
Finish:Mint State
Weight in Grams:30.093 g
Weight in Ounces:0.9675 oz
Diameter:34 mm
Country:United States
Legal Tender:United States
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Double eagle AU
Coin I received is a 1891 and almost flawless. Delivery was rapid. Very satisfied
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Have NOT received them
WOW! I called twice, told they were going to be shipped one day. Then told the person miscounted days. Called back the next day and told it was shipped. Now, I even have a request to review my purchase, however, I have not yet received my order or even the tracking information. It is also not available on the MCM website. I would wait to send out this questionnaire until after you at least ship the product. At least then I can comment on the product. However, customer service to date has been less than stellar. I hope at least the products wow me.
ModernCoinMart (MCM)
Harold, thank you for bringing this to our attention. You have our sincerest apologies. We do have a check policy that states all check orders must be held for 7 business days, however, your order handling time was passed that timeframe. We are taking measures to ensure that this does not happen in the future. As a token of our apology, we are shipping your order via overnight delivery. As soon as the tracking information is available it will be emailed to you. Once again, you have our sincerest apologies. We look forward to serving your future bullion and numismatic needs.
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