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1857-O Double Eagle

1857-O Double Eagle or $20 Gold

PCGS No: 8921
Circulation strikes Mintage: 30,000
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.


After the tiny production of New Orleans double eagles in 1856, the mintage rose sharply to 30,000 coins in 1857. Most of these were widely distributed and well circulated. The average 1857-O double eagle seen today is only Very Fine or Extremely Fine. There have quite a few examples offered at auction in the last 15 years that have graded About Uncirculated, but most of these have been on the lower end of that scale. High-grade examples of the 1857-O double eagle are sometimes prooflike, and the mintmark is often very weak. The absolute finest example known for the issue is the MS-63 piece that was a part of the Bass Collection. That coin sold in 2000 for nearly $100,000. The Smithsonian has two examples, both of which grade AU-55. The S.S. Republic held just four examples.

Key to Collecting: Despite a mintage of 30,000 pieces very few 1857-O double eagles exist today, probably below 150 all told. Most are graded VF or EF.

Aspects of Striking:
Usually sharply struck.

Die Data: Most lightly struck on the obverse, particularly at the left border. High grade examples usually display some prooflike surface, especially on the reverse. Die Data: Standard four-digit logotype punch for this year.

Number of Appearances: 80 (18%)
High Grade Condition Points: 20
Average Grade: VF-35

Auction Records:
(3) Unc: RARCOA 8/78; Menjou 1950; Bell 1944

(14) AU: Hughes 2/78; Stack's 6/77; GENA 1975; Pine Tree 6/75; Paramount 2/74; Stack's 2/73; Kreisberg/Cohen 9/71; ANA 1971; Kreisberg/Cohen 11/70, 6/70; Stack's 3/69, 5/68; Golden 1962; Kern 1950

(33) EF: Stack's 12/81, 9/81, 6/81; NASCA 4/80; Stack's 3/80 (2), 2/80; Hughes 10/79; Stack's 6/79; Ivy 5/79, 2/79; Stack's 2/79; B&R 5/77, 10/76; ANA 1976; Peters 4/76; Paramount 11/75; Pine Tree 6/75; Stack's 4/30/75; RARCOA 4/75; Pine Tree 2/75; Scanlon 1973; Gilhousen 1973; Stack's 1/70; Kreisberg/Cohen 6/68; Stack's 4/67, 10/66; Bolt 1966; Bell 1963; Golden 1963; ANA 1956; Atwater 1946; WGC 1946

(27) VF: Stack's 9/79; New England 3; 79; Kagin's 9/78; Stack's 9/77; Ivy 4/77; Stack's 2/77; Paramount 5/76; Superior 10/74; ANA 1974; Paramount 11/72, 3/72; Stack's 4/71; Superior 3/71; DiBello 1970; Miles 1968; Shuford 1968; Paramount 3/66; Kosoff 10/65; Paramount 10/65, 2/65; Walton 1963; Wolfson 1962; Holmes 1960; Melish 1956; Farouk 1954; MC 1948; Lee 1947

(3) Fine: New England 1/80; Kreisberg/Cohen 11/70; ANA 1964

The 1857-O Double Eagle is a rare date in any condition and most known examples grade only VF or EF. There are at most a mere handful of strictly graded A U coins in existence and I have personally examined only one unc, the very choice Kaufman specimen (pictured above) now in the Bass Collection. Overall, the 1857-O is slightly less rare than the 1858-O and is perhaps just a bit more rare than the lower mintage 186 l-O. It is also decidedly more rare than the O-Mint issues from 1850 to 1853. The typical 1857-O is semi-prooflike or prooflike.


Washington. D.C.. Feb. 21. Congress passes legislation barring use of foreign coins in United Slates.
Washington. D.C.. March 3. Congress appropriates $70.000 to assist trans-AtliiiitLC cable financed by Cyrus Field.
United States. May 26. Dred Scotl freed by his new owner (-Dec. 31).
United States, June 27. Scientific American cites threat to whale population, as in¬creased literacy rate heightens demand for lamp oil.
Oregon Territory July 1. Henry Pittock and three others reach top of Mount Hood.
Washington, D.C., July 13. Alfred Cumming officially replaces Brigham Young as Governor of Utah, with authority to use federal troops to enforce national law (—Oct. 4).
Valentia Bay, Ireland. Aug. 14. Ships from United States and Britain assemble to begin laying first trans-Atlantic cableVSepl. 2, IK5B).
New York City, First passenger elevator, invented by Elisha Otis. installed in Haughwout Department Store.
Moline, Illinois. John Deere is producing 10.000 steel plows a year.
Chicago. Baseball ruling sets length of game at nine innings.
New York City. Cooper Union founded by Peter Cooper, providing education for working class.
Michigan. Thomas F.dison founds chemistry lab at home, marking all bottles "poison." to ainuscmenl of friends.
Arizona. Edward Beale blazes wagon trail from Fort Defiance to Colorado, using camels as pack animals (— June 16).
United States. American cities reportedly have highest death rales in world, due. in large part, in tuberculosis.
San Diego, California. Introduction of Italian honeybees begins honey industry here.
New York City. Lithographers Nathaniel Currier and James Merrill Ives establish their own imprinl.
Charleston, S.C. Hinton Rower Helper, in Vie Impend¬ing Crisis of the Stmth. argues that slavery ultimately impoverishes whites in South.

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


1857-O Double Eagle - Type I Double Eagles - New Orleans Double Eagles

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

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