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1855-O Double Eagle

1855-O Double Eagle or $20 Gold

PCGS No: 8915
Circulation strikes Mintage: 8,000
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, LA) below the eagle's tail on the reverse.


The rarity of the 1855-O double eagle is often overshadowed by the 1854-O and 1856-O issues. There are fewer than 100 examples known for the date in all grades. This is especially important considering the fact that double eagles are one of the most popular U.S. coins. Most of the coins known for the date are low grade. The treasure of the S.S. Republic featured three examples, all of which grade AU-58. The Smithsonian has two specimens, both of which are About Uncirculated. Mint State coins are very rare, and those that have been cer¬tified as such are barely so. An NGC MS-60 example sold at auction in 2005 for $37,375.

Key to Collecting: The 1855-O, sandwiched between the classic rarities 1854-O and 1856-O, is very hard to find in any grade. Fewer than a hundred pieces are believed to exist, mostly VF and EF, these grades holding for most of the great "name" collections formed over the years. A few Mint State pieces have been described in the literature and have been certified, these at the lower end of
the MS scale.

Aspects of Striking:
Often fairly well struck, but there are exceptions. On some the first obverse star is lightly struck. High grade coins have partial to extensive prooflike surface.

Die Data: Standard four-digit logotype punch for this year. 4 obverse dies were shipped to New Orleans. Reverse dies were on hand from earlier times.

Number of Appearances: 42 (9%)
High Grade Condition Points: 4
Average Grade: VF-31

Auction Records:
(4) AU: ANA 1971; Kreisberg/Cohen 6/70; Lee 1947; Atwater 1946

(17) EF: Stack's 9/81; Auction '81; Stack's 6/79, 2/79; RARCOA 4-5/76; Stack's 4/30/75; RARCOA 4/75; Stack's 4/71; Kreisberg/Cohen 6/69; Stack's 3/69, 5/68; Kreisberg4/67; Wolfson 1962; Baldenhofer 1955; WGC 1946; Bell 1944; Roach 1944

(19) VF: New England 4/80, 1/80; ANA 1975; Superior 10/74; ANA 1974; Gilhousen 1973; Superior 3/71; Alto 1970; Kreisberg/Cohen 11/70; Miles 1968; Shuford 1968; Stack's 4/67; Kosoff 10/65; Paramount 2/65; Bell 1963; Holmes I960; Melish 1956; Farouk 1954; MC 1948

(1) Fine: Menjou 1950

(1) VG: Kreisberg 6/65

This is one of my favorite Double Eagles. I think that it is one of the most unappreciated coins in the series and it is undeniably one of the rarest, especially in high grade. It is not quite as rare overall as the 1854-O and 1856-O but the difference in rarity is not as great as the price differential would imply. Furthermore, I feel the 1855-O is actually rarer than either the 1854-O or 1856-O in high grade and is one of the two or three rarest Double Eagles with respect to condition rarity. Although there are several auction records for AU's, I have never seen one at that level. The two finest specimens I know of are the choice EF-45's in a prominent Dallas bank collection and the Eliasberg Collection and I have seen only a few other solid EF-40's. Most of those I've encountered were only VF and, in truth, this date is not often seen in any grade. Not included in the 443 sales used in this analysis were two sales (Deetz, Stack's 1946 and C. W. Green, Mehl 1949) that contained specimens graded "uncirculated." I have not personally examined either of those coins and therefore cannot vouch for their condition. However, based on what I have seen and heard of, I am skeptical that they would grade uncir¬culated by today's standards. The 1855-O is always semi-prooflike or prooflike.


New York City, Feb. 6. Anti-Slavery Soeietv hears Ralph Waldo Emerson estimate that $200 million would be enough to buy every slave's freedom.
Washington, D.C., March 3. Congress agrees to Secretary of War Jefferson Davis's plan to import Egyptian camels to Southwest at cost of $30.000.
Massachusetts, Apr. 28. Segregation banned in all schools.
New York City, May 9. Brownhelm County, Ohio, clerk John Mercer Langston, first Negro elected to public office in United States, addresses American Anti-Slavery Society.
Kansas, August. John Brown joins his sons and becomes leader of local militia (-» Aug. 30, 1856).
Seattle, Washington, Sept. 28. Puget Sound Anti-Chinese Congress decides to frighten Chinese into leaving state; (many do depart] (-• Nov. 3).
Tacoma, Washington, Nov. 3. Led by mayor, sheriff and deputies, a mob travels through Chinese district. throwing Chinese out of town (-9).
Tacoma, Washington, Nov. 9.U.S. troops arrive to arrest residents who were involved in expulsion of Chinese.
California. Firsl lighthouse on Pacific Ocean is built off coast of San Diego.
Nevrtown Creek, New York. Dr. Abraham Gesner makes kerosene from raw petroleum; promotes it as patent medicine.
Watertown, Wisconsin. First kindergarten in United States, though German-speaking, founded by Mrs. Carl Schurz.
Salt Lake City. Brigham Young proclaims thai a single drop of Negro blood renders a man unfit to enter Mormon priesthood.
United States. American Telegraph Co. formed to transmit messages in Eastern states.
United States. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper begun.
New York City. In seven years since its printing. Stephen Foster's Cantpiown Races has earned him only $101.25.
New York City. My Bondage. My Freedom published by ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

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


1855-O Double Eagle - Double Eagles - New Orleans Mint

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

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