HEAD (NO MOTTO ON REVERSE) TWENTY DOLLARS OR DOUBLE EAGLE
1855 Double Eagle
The 1855 Double Eagle had a mintage of 364,666.
They are common in circulated grades; however, rather scarce
in Mint State. NGC has certified 327 in total but only 19
in Mint State. With 80 certified in AU58, one can assume
that there have been many attempts at recertification to
achieve Uncirculated status. A similar situation exists
at PCGS. Of the 251 double eagles of this date that have
been certified, only 14 are in Mint State with 30 in AU58.
No doubt these numbers also include duplication because
of crossovers and resubmissions.
Of the 327 that NGC has certified, 17 are
specifically designated to have come from the SS Republic.
PGCS does not make that distinction for this issue. However,
in his book A California Gold Rush History, Bowers indicates
that 7 1855 double eagle were found on the SS Central America.
All were retained by the Columbus-America group
The 1855 double eagle is a Type 1 variety.
As such it lacks the motto IN GOD WE TRUST, which was added
to coins of the series in 1866, except for some San Francisco
minted coins that were made before the new reverse dies
arrived. The 1855 twenty dollar coin also has the denomination
written as TWENTY D. It was changed to TWENTY DOLLARS in
1877, creating the Type 3 double eagle.
James Barton Longacre designed the pattern
for the double eagle in 1849. It was produced because of
the huge amount of gold that came into the Mint from California.
With the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in January
1848, the California gold rush began. It led to an influx
of miners and others into the area. The vast quantity of
gold produced led to a need for a standard form of exchange.
The double eagle was the government’s response. They
also felt that the new denomination would be useful for
large commercial transactions and that it would facilitate
Longacre’s design for the double eagle
shows a Liberty head facing left, wearing coronet inscribed
LIBERTY. Her hair is tightly tied in the back with two loose
curls hanging down her neck to the end of the truncation.
She is surrounded by thirteen six-pointed stars with the
date below. Dentils are near the edge on both sides of the
coin. The reverse shows a heraldic eagle with elaborate
ribbons on both sides of the shield extending from the top
corner down to the eagle’s tail feathers. The ribbons
are inscribed, on the left E PLURIBUS and UNUM on the right.
The ribbons were added to the design to symbolize the denomination
since this was the first twenty dollar coin. There is an
oval of thirteen stars above the eagle’s head and
an arc of rays from wing tip to wing tip behind the upper
half of the oval. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is in an arc
above the eagle, and the denomination TWENTY D. is below.
The mintmark, when present, is between the tail feathers
and the N of TWENTY.
Weight: 33.436 grams
Composition: .900 gold, .100 copper
Net weight: .96750 troy oz. pure gold
Diameter: 34 millimeters
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 abolitionistFrederick