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LIBERTY HEAD (NO MOTTO ON REVERSE) TWENTY DOLLARS OR DOUBLE EAGLE (1849-1866)

1854 Double Eagle

1854 Double Eagle

1854 Double Eagle. There are two varieties of this double eagle, the Small, also known as Medium, and Large Date. On the normal Small Date coins, the 5 and 4 do not touch. There is also a repunched Small Date where the tops of the numerals almost touch. The Large Date numerals have normal spacing. They are from the logotype that was used for silver dollars.

The Small Date is the more common variety of the two. Both major grading services have certified a combined 854 Small Dates and 144 Large Dates. In other words, 14% of the certified population is made of Large Dates, and one would expect that this percentage would be the same for uncertified coins as well. The wreck of the S.S. Republic, which sank in October 1865, yielded 36 Small Date coins and 7 Large Date pieces.

The Small Date variety is similar to the numerals in the 1852 and 1853 coins. Circulated coins of this date and variety are readily available, but mint state coins are rare. NGC has 13 in MS60 to 62, with none better. PCGS has 19 in mint state with only 1 in MS63 and 1 in MS65. The Small Date logotype was also used on the branch mint coinage of this date at New Orleans and San Francisco.

The Large Date variety is by far the rarer in mint state. NGC has certified 9 pieces in MS60 to MS64, with none better. PCGS has only 1 in mint state at MS64. Of course these numbers are not exact because of resubmissions and crossovers, but they illustrate the trend that is obvious.

The retail price listing for the two varieties is also instructive. At VF 20 they are close with the Small Date listed at $2,000 and the Large at $2,250. At AU50 they are $3,000 and $8,250 respectively, and at AU58 the gap widens to $5,000 vs. $25,000. This five-fold gap decreases somewhat at MS60 with listings at $9,000 and $42,500. At MS63 the ratio diminishes at $30,000 and $62,500. From a collector’s point of view, perhaps the best move is to buy a Large Date in AU58 at a Small Date price since the market did not pay too much attention to the size differences between the two.

There are no known proof double eagles of this date. In fact there are no known for the 1850 to 1857 years. Researchers believe that a small number of 1850 proof coins were struck, but there have been no appearances of an 1854 proof double eagle.

Specifications:
Weight: 33.436 grams
Composition: .900 gold, .100 copper
Net weight: .96750 Troy ounces pure gold
Diameter: 34 millimeters
Edge: reeded
Mintage: 757,899 (Includes both Small and Large Date varieties.)
Designer: James B. Longacre




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1854 Double Eagle - 1854 Small Date Double Eagle - 1854 Large Date Double Eagle

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