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1854-O Double Eagle

1854 Double Eagle
Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.

1854-O Double Eagle or $20 Gold

PCGS No: 8912
Circulation strikes Mintage: 3,250
Proofs: 0
Designer: James Barton Longacre
Diameter: ±34 millimeters
Metal content: Gold - 90%
Other - 10%
Weight: ±516 grains (±33.4 grams)
Edge: Reeded
Mintmark: "O" (for New Orleans) below the eagle's tail on the reverse


The 1854-O double eagle is one of the great classics of the Liberty Head series. Today, there are probably fewer than 35 coins known in all grades. Most of the 1854-O double eagles seen by the authors have graded just Very Fine or Extremely Fine. There is considerable pressure to inflate the grading for this issue as much as possible. Many of the coins offered years ago as Very Fine are now considered Extremely Fine. The 1854-O double eagle has always been in great demand, but with the recent interest in the field of double eagles, the 1854-O issue has become nearly priceless. A PCGS AU-53 coin sold for $368,000 in early 2005. The com is a pleasing AU-50. Probably the finest example known was in the wreckage of the S.S. Repub¬lic. The coin has been certified by NGC as AU-58 and was sold by private treaty in late 2004 for $675,000. Note: this coin is included among the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins (Garrett and Guth 2005).

Key to Collecting: When this variety was produced, there was no numismatic interest in mintmark varieties, and not even the Mint Cabinet preserved an example. Probably no more than 25 pieces are known totally, or no more than 30 at the outside, making it one of the rarest of all double eagles.

Aspects of Striking:
Usually sharply struck. High grade specimens show some prootlike surface.

Die Data: 8 obverse dies were shipped to New Orleans, but probably only one was used- Serviceable reverse dies were on hand from earlier times. 1854 Four-digit Medium (a.k.a. Small Date) logotype: Date with 85 farthest apart (but still quite close), 18 spaced nearly but not quite as close together as 85; 54 very close. Uprights of 1 and 4 both thick. Italic style 5. Used on some Philadelphia Mint dies (probably the early ones) and all oranch mint dies.

Number of Appearances: 24 (5%)
High Grade Condition Points: 5
Average Grade: VF-35

Auction Records:
(1) Unc: Bell 1944

(3) AU: AAA 11/72; Cicero 1960; Atwater 1946

(12) EF: ANA 1979; Auction '79; RARCOA 4-5/76; AAA 6/75; ANA 1974; Gilhousen 1973; Kreisberg/Cohen 6/69; Miles 1968; Shuford 1968; Baldenhofer 1955; MC 1948; Lee 1947

(8) VF: Stack's 6/79; Hughes 2/78; Stack's 4/71, 5/68; Bell 1963; Farouk 1954; Menjou 1950; WGC 1946

The 1854-O Double Eagle is one of the most famous dates in the Double Eagle series and it is also one of the rarest. In particular, it is the second rarest O-Mint twenty after the 1856-O and it is comparable overall to the 1870-CC and business strikes of 1881 and 1885. It is not as rare as a business strike 1882 or 1886 and, of course, it is not nearly as rare as the 1861 Paquet. However, other than the aforementioned dates, the 1854-O is more rare than any other regular issue Liberty Head. (The proof-only 1883 and 1884 are also a bit more rare than this date, particularly the 1884.) The only specimen ever catalogued as "uncirculated" was in the 1944 Bell sale. I have not seen that piece so I cannot say if it is really uncirculated. In fact, I have not seen a strictly mint state example in any collection although I have seen three very nice AU's, the finest being an AU-55 coin in a prominent Dallas bank collection. When available, and that is not likely to be very often, the typical 1854-Ois VF or EF with a partially prooflike or fully prooflike surface. The exact number of specimens in existence is difficult to say with certainty but I would esti¬mate the number to be in the range of 20-25 specimens at most.

See Double Eagle Gold Coins for sale. Click here!

Courtesy Akers: United States Gold Coins - An Analysis of Auction Records
Courtesy Bowers: A Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins


1854-O Double Eagle - New Orleans Mint - Double Eagles

US Rare Coin Investments 2003 - 2015 U.S. Rare Coin Investments

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