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1859-S Double Eagle


1859-S Double Eagle or $20 Gold

PCGS No: 8928
Circulation strikes Mintage: 636,445
Proofs: 0
Designer: James Barton Longacre
Diameter: ±34 millimeters
Metal content: Gold - 90%
Other - 10%
Weight: ±516 grains (±33.4 grams)
Edge: Reeded
Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) below the eagle's tail on the reverse.


With an ample mintage of 636,445 coins, the 1859-S Double Eagle, a branch-mint issue, is the most common double eagle for the year. Examples may be found in grades of Very Fine to About Uncirculated without too much difficulty. Most of these will be heavily marked, as the production for the year was widely circulated. There were 67 examples found on the S.S. Republic, but most were About Uncirculated, and only one attained a Mint State designation. Like most of the coins of this era, the 1859-S double eagle is very rare in Mint State, and just one or two are known at the choice level. The finest example certified to date has been a PCGS MS-63 coin, which sold at auction in 2004 for $31,050.

Key to Collecting: The 1859-S double eagle is easily available in circulated grades, but in Mint State it is hard to find not being represented in any significant hoards, either "treasure* or from importations.

Aspects of Striking: Usually well struck, although there are exceptions, the last having lightness of obverse features. Certain details less well defined than on 1850-1858 coins.

Die Data: Standard four-digit logotype punch for this year (see description under 1859 Philadelphia Mint). some with Belds unusually basined, curving up in a noticeable manner toward the rim. Medium Smintmark. Date and mintmark positions vary.

Number of Appearances: 111 (25%)
High Grade Condition Points: 44
Average Grade: VF-36

Auction Records:

(8) Unc: Kreisberg 9/80; New England 4/80; Ivy 4/77; ANA 1976; Shapero 1971; Bell 1963; WGC 1946; Bell 1944

(28) AU: Stack's 9/81, 3/81; NASCA 12/80; Paramount 11/80; Stack's 2/80; NASCA 10/79; B&R 9/79; Stack's 9/79; ANA 1979; Auction '79 (2); New England 7/78; Kagin's 5/78; New England 3/76; ANA 1975 (2); Paramount 5/75; Superior 2/75; AAA 11/74; Paramount 11/74; Stack's 6/74; ANA 1971; DiBello 1970; Miles 1968; Kosoff 10/65; ANA 1965; Golden 1962; Holmes 1960

(35) EF: B&R 6/81; Stack's 3/81, 6/80, 12/79 (2), 10/79, 9/79; New England 3/79; Stack's 2/79; B&R 2/79; Stack's 6/78; New England 7/77; Stack's 6/77, 2/77; AAA 9/75; ANA 1975 (3); ANA 1974 (2); Pine Tree 3/74; Scanlon 1973; Stack's 2/73; Gilhousen 1973; Stack's 6/72; Kreisberg/Cohen 9/71; Stack's 6/70, 3/69, 6/67, 4/67; Paramount 2/65; Baldenhofer 1955; Menjou 1950; Flanagan 1944; Roach 1944

(36) VF: Stack's 3/80, 2/80,6/79, 6/78; Pine Tree 1/78; Coin Galleries 11/75; Pine Tree 6/75; Stack's 4/30/75; Superior 10/74; GENA 1974; Stack's 9/72; RARCOA 5/71; Kreisberg/Cohen 11/70; Stack's 9/70, 1/70; Kreisberg/Cohen 6/68; Shuford 1968; Stack's 5/68; Kreisberg 9/67; Stack's 10/66; Bolt 1966; Paramount 3/66; Stack's 12/65; Paramount 10 65; ANA 1964; Walton 1963; Wolfson 1962; Cicero 1960; Melish 1956(2); Baldenhofer 1955; Smith 1955; Farouk 1954; Kern 1950; Lee 1947; Atwater 1946

(3) Fine: Kagin's 9/78; Stack's 4/71; Kreisberg/Cohen 11/70

(1) VG: Kreisberg6/65

The 1859-S double eagle is roughly comparable in overall rarity to the 1855-S, 1857-S, 1858-Sand 1863-S but it is more rare than the other four with respect to condition. That is, it is more difficult to obtain than the others in high grade, particularly full mint state. Most known examples grade only VFor EFand AU specimens are very scarce. In uncirculated condition, the 1859-S is rare and I do not recall ever seeing one better than Unc-60.


Springfield, Illinois, Jan. 5. Stephen A. Douglas wins second term in Senate, defeat¬ing Abraham Lincoln.
Texas, Feb. 23. Governor Hardin R. Runnels issues proclamation instructing Tex-ans to avoid hostilities against Indians.
Mississippi River, Apr. 9. Samuel Clemens becomes li¬censed riverboat pilot on Mississippi River.
Springfield. Illinois, April. Abraham Lincoln, in letter to editor T.J. Pickeit, confides, "I must, in candor, say I do not consider myself fit for the Presidency."
Vicksburg, Mississippi. May 9-19. Southern Commercial Convention meets to call for reinstilution of legal slave trade.
Utah Territory, July 2. Mail service established to Salt Lake City by stagecoach.
Colorado, September. Voters reject proposed constitution for "Slate of Jefferson."
Massachusetts, Oct. 30. Henry David Thoreau speaks out on behalf of John Brown.
Colorado, Nov. 16. "Claim jumpers" lay waste to St. Charles, renaming it "Denver" after first Governor of Kansas Territory. James Denver.
Washington, D.C., Dec. 5. Charles Sumner of Massachu¬setts resumes Senate duties after recovery from beating by Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina.
Salem. Massachusetts. Moses Gcrrish Farmer demonstrates his electric incandescent light¬ing with two lamps powered by wet-cell battery with platinum filaments.
Mount Vernon, Virginia. George Washington's home dedicated as national monument.
Cambridge. Massachusetts. Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded.
Mississippi. Legislalure resolves to secede from union immediately if a Republican is elected president.
Ohio. John D. Rockefeller helps Negro buy his wife out of slavery.
Chicago. Approximately 2.000 daguerrotypc studios have opened across the nation.

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


1859 Double Eagle - Type 1 Double Eagles - S.S. Republic

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

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