The $20 Double Eagles are certainly some of the most beautiful, popular, and widely recognized of all the world’s gold coins. A workhorse coin of trade, it was one of the building blocks of the growing U.S. economy and financial markets in the 19th and 20th centuries. $20 Liberty gold coins were used in every aspect of American economic life, from the average guy on the street to multi-million dollar international financial transactions.
About Liberty Head Gold Double Eagles
The classic portrait of Miss Liberty on the coin’s obverse will always serve as a powerful reminder of the emergence of the United States as a world power in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. During the time of the $20 Liberty’s issue, the official price of gold was $20.67 an ounce. The gold content of the Double Eagle was fixed at .9675 oz., equaling its $20 value in gold weight.
Prior to 1849, the largest gold piece issued by the U.S. Government had been the $10 gold coin, known as the “Eagle,” first struck in 1795. The new $20 Liberty gold pieces quickly were dubbed “Double Eagles” because they were twice the size of the established and popular $10 “Eagles.” During the course of their mintage, $20 Liberty Double Eagle gold coins were produced in three varieties, Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3.
Buy Liberty Head Double Eagles
1904 P Liberty Head Double Eagle $20 Twenty Dollar Gold Coin -EF/AU
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1896 $20 GOLD LIBERTY HEAD DOUBLE EAGLE NGC MS 61
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The United States $20 gold coin was released in the 1840s in response to the California Gold Rush. It initially featured the bust of Liberty wearing an elaborate coronet with a heraldic eagle and a circle of stars above the eagle, and two motto ribbons on either side on the reverse. The motto was moved above the eagle in 1866. As with the $10 eagle coin, "In God We Trust" was originally omitted from double eagles, but Congress quickly enacted a law to require that it be included.
About Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagles
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt summoned his personal friend, famed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and confided what he called his “pet crime”: to redesign the country’s coinage in the likeness of the coins of ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy. Although in failing health, Saint-Gaudens rose to what would become his last challenge, producing a stunning design that many consider to be the most beautiful coin ever produced.Offered several choices by Saint-Gaudens, Teddy Roosevelt personally selected the so-called “High Relief” design.
The obverse features the image of Miss Liberty striving gloriously into the future; the reverse features the majestic Flying Eagle. It is called “high-relief” because the devices are raised to an unusual height above the fields, which are excessively concave. During March and April of 1907, some 24 “Proof” specimens were struck of this Saint-Gaudens High Relief design. Each coin required an amazing nine blows of the dies to strike up the design in full detail! Sadly, Saint-Gaudens died on August 3, 1907, without seeing his magnificent coin enter into circulation.
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In November of 1907, production of “regular issue” High Relief $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coins began. Some 11,250 coins were struck, but with great difficulty, for each coin required five blows from the press to raise the design into acceptable relief. In addition, bankers complained that these new coins, when placed in traditional bankers' stacks of twenty, wobbled and fell over! So practicality won out over aesthetics.
The Saint Gaudens design was altered by Charles Barber into a “flat relief” version, and coin production resumed in earnest. The first Barber-redesigned Saints were struck with 1907 and 1908 dates. As one would expect, the original 1907 High Relief $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coins immediately became prized as collector’s items. In 1908, Augustus St. Gaudens created a new design for the double eagle. Liberty’s full body is shown, and she's holding a torch and an olive branch. The reverse features a flying eagle with sun rays in the background.