The History of the $20 Gold Liberty

Posted by Derek Sawchenko on

The $20 Gold Liberty coin, also referred to as the double eagle coin, was minted during the California Gold Rush. Mines had an abundance of gold and affected the United States currency. The Philadelphia Mint was the first to receive gold from Colonial R.B. Mason, the governor. 230 ounces of gold was minted into quarter eagles. However, the mint soon realized that there was an overabundance of gold. Half eagles and eagles were then minted. James Iver McKay, governor of North Carolina, authorized a small coin as the gold dollar. He was later persuaded to mint a larger coin, the $20 Gold Liberty, which was approved by Congress in 1849.

Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre designed the $20 Gold Liberty coin. The obverse side depicts Liberty’s head with the word “Liberty” inscribed on the coronet. The head was modeled after Crouching Venus, a Greco-Roman sculpture of the goddess, Venus. The reverse side of the coin depicts an eagle with its wings spread, shield on the eagle's breast, and thirteen rays that shine inward. The country’s name, United States of America, lines the top rim of the coin. On the bottom of the coin, the denomination “Twenty Dollars” is placed.

The coin was minted in two models, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 had no motto in the design. Type 2 includes the motto, “In God We Trust” above the eagles head on the reverse side. The Philadelphia Mint minted the 1st type coin from 1850 to 1855. The coins were then minted in New Orleans from 1850 to 1861 and in San Francisco from 1854 to 1866.  The mintage for each year ranged from thousands to millions. The San Francisco Mint minted the last batch of $20 Gold Liberty coins in 1866 which were type 2 variants. For more information on how you can get these rare coins, contact Certified Coin Consultants today!

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