The Story of the Twenty Dollar Gold Coin

In October 2010, gardeners discovered buried American gold coins in an east London garden. Archeologists were astonished to find that the gold coins unearthed were the popular American twenty dollar gold coins, also known as the “Double Eagle”, dating from 1854 to 1913. They are said to have been minted in San Francisco and Philadelphia. They were displayed in the Museum of London in October, shortly after being unearthed. Their estimated value is hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Twenty Dollar Gold Coin a.k.a. Double Eagle
The twenty dollar gold coins are perhaps among the most famous and most popular of all US gold coins. They were struck from the year 1849 to 1933. They have a wonderful history behind them and are termed to be truly a rarity. In 1933 the Roosevelt Government halted the minting of these twenty dollar gold coins and melted the existing ones. However, there were some that were either outside the U.S. or were safely locked up and hidden, which survived the melting down. These are the few twenty dollar gold coins, Double Eagles, that still survive today and are enthusiastically collected by coin connoisseurs and numismatists.

These Double Eagle gold coins can be divided into two types:

Liberty Head Type: These Liberty head twenty dollar gold coins were minted till the year 1907, after which they were redesigned. This design depicts the bust of Miss Liberty on the obverse, wearing a coronet, facing left. The reverse side shows an eagle, with outstretched wings, with rays of sun and stars in the background. The eagle is also shown to be wearing a shield on its bust. The words “In God We Trust” were inscribed above the eagle.

Saint Gauden Type: Augustus St. Gauden was a designer who reached the peak of his fame from 1907 to 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt assigned him the task of redesigning the twenty dollar gold coin. The 1907 ultra-high-relief is one the rarest and the most beautiful gold coins to be ever struck in the US. St. Gauden’s design depicted a standing Liberty on the obverse or dated side of the coin, with flowing hair. The reverse side featured a majestic looking, flying eagle with sun rays in the background and the words “In God We Trust” inscribed below the eagle. The value of this coin, the original high-relief 1907 double eagle proof, has been estimated at about $3,000,000.

In 2002, a 1933 twenty dollar gold coin, Double Eagle, was auctioned at Sotheby’s and was bought by a private collector. This sale broke all records, of previous rare coin sales, and was closed at a staggering figure of $7,590,020. This is an especially rare piece as this coin is the only one from that era to have been deemed legal to be owned by citizens by the US Government.

When Collecting Twenty Dollar Gold Coins

When investing in these coins or simply collecting them, it is important to make certain that they are genuine and original. There are many counterfeit, fake coins in the market these days. Keep in mind the factors that affect the value of such coins. These factors are:

  • The maker or designer
  • The year the coin was minted
  • The price of gold at the time you purchase
  • The demand for these coins in the market
  • The supply of these coins

Obviously, aesthetic beauty and historical relevance have an impact on the value of the coins as well.