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1855-S Double Eagle

1855-S Double Eagle

1855-S Double Eagle or $20 Gold

PCGS No: 8916
Circulation strikes Mintage: 879,675
Proofs: 0
Designer: James Barton Longacre
Diameter: ±34 millimeters
Metal content: Gold - 90%
Other - 10%
Weight: ±516 grains (±33.4 grams)
Edge: Reeded
Mintmark: "S" (for San Francisco) below the eagle's tail on the reverse.


The 1855-S double eagle is mostly seen in Very Fine or Extremely Fine condition. The mintage for the issue was quite large, with nearly one million coins struck. This is an issue that at one time was very rare in Mint State. A large number was found on the wreckage of the S.S. Central America. More than 300 coins were found, of which nearly 100 were in Mint State, One example is nearly perfect and has been certified as MS-66 by PCGS. There were 57 examples of the date found on the S.S. Republic. There are two distinctly different mintmarks found for the issue: the Medium S and the Large S. An MS-64 example sold privately in the summer of 2005 for $29,000.

Key to Collecting: The 1855-S double eagle is readily collectible in grades such as VF, EF, and even AU. Mint State coins exist, are very rare, and are mostly in lower MS levels.

Aspects of Striking:
Usually well struck.

Die Data: Standard four-digit logotype punch for this year. 12 obverse dies and six reverse dies were sent to San Francisco, but not all were used. Various date and mintmark positional differences. Most have medium-size S mintmark, but a few have a large S. .As noted earlier, varieties with broken A (STATES) are plentiful among dou¬ble eagles of this decade, although most cataloguers do nor bother to mention this little anomaly.

Number of Appearances: 133 (30%)
High Grade Condition Points: 56
Average Grade: VF-37

Auction Records:
(18) Unc: Stack's 9/81, 6/79 (2); Ivy 7/77; New England 12/76; ANA 1976; Pine Tree 3/76; GENA 1975; Scanlon 1973; Stack's 10/70, 1/70, 2/68; ANA 1966; Stack's 9/65; Holmes I960; Kern 1950; WGC 1946; Bell 1944

(20) AU: Stack's3/81, I2/79;ANA 1979; Superior6/79; New England3/79; B&R2/79; Kreisberg/Cohen 10/78; New England 4/78; B&R 4/78; Ivy 1/78; Stack's 2/77; ANA 1976; Pine Tree 6/75; RARCOA 4/75; ANA 1974; DiBello 1970; Miles 1968; ANA 1965; Kreisberg 6 65; Ward 1964

(49) EF: Coin Galleries 9/81; B&R 6/81; Stack's 3/81; NASCA 12/80; Stack's 6/80, 2/80(2), 12/79;NASCA 10'79; Superior 10/79; Auction'79; Stack's6/79; Ivy 2/79; Stack's 2/79; B&R 2/79; Ivy 11/78; B&R 4,78; RARCOA 1/78; Paramount 11/77; B&R 10/77 (2); New England 7 77; Stack's 2,77; B&R 2/77; ANA 1976 (2); Peters 4/76; AAA 12 75; ANA 1975 (2); Paramount 5/75, 5/74, 5/73; Stack's 2/73; Paramount 11 / 72; Shapero 1971; Stack's4/71; Kreisberg/Cohen 11/70; Stack's 6/70, 3 69; Paramount 2 69; Stack's 5/68, 6/67, 4/67, 6/66; Walton 1963; ANA 1960; Melish 1956; MC 1948

(40) VF: Stack's 3/81, 3/80; Superior 1, 80, 10/79; Stack's 6/79; B&R 6/79; ANA 1977; Stack's 6/77; New England 3/76; Coin Galleries 11 75; AAA 9/75; Stack's 4/30/75; Superior 10/74; ANA 1974; Gilhousen 1973; RARCOA 2/72; Kreisberg/Cohen 9/71; ANA 1971; RARCOA 5/71; Alto 1970; Kreisberg/ Cohen 11/70; Stack's 1/69; Kreisberg/Cohen 6 68; Shuford 1968; Kreisberg 9/67, 4/67, 10/66; Stack's 10/66, 2/65; Paramount 2 65; Bell 1963; Golden 1963; Wolfson 1962; Golden 1962; Melish 1956; Baldenhofer 1955; Farouk 1954; Lee 1947; Atwater 1946; Dunham 1941

(6) Fine: New England 1/81; Superior6/77;Stack's2/71,2/70; Menjou 1950; Neil 1947

The 1855-S Double Eagle is a fairly scarce date that can be obtained without too much difficulty in VF or EF condition. In AU it is very scarce and in full mint state it is definitely rare. Choice or gem quality "original" uncs are virtually impossible to locate although an occasional "saltwater unc" is available. Overall, this date is on the third level of rarity among all S-Mint issues and it is roughly comparable to such dates as 1857-S, 1858-S, 1859-S and 1863-S. It is not as rare as the 1854-S but it is certainly more rare than the 1856-S.


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-S Double Eagle - San Francisco Mint - Double Eagles

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

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