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DOUBLE EAGLE GOLD COINS

$20 Double Eagles - America's Favorite Gold Coins
Double Eagle Gold Coins
Circulation Strike Mintage Small numbers; all probably destroyed.
Proof Mintage Probably 1

THE IMPORTANCE OF DOUBLE EAGLES

Collectors seem to prefer larger coins hence, the popularity of United States Silver Dollars and Double Eagles, two of the largest denominations. They are easier to see, hold, and appreciate. Double Eagle coins are also popular because of the history they represent, extending from prior to the Civil War into the twentieth century. Double Eagles are bound up in the stories of the California Gold Rush, the resurgence of religion, sunken treasure ships, and the two presidents Roosevelt.

Except for the one pattern piece, the first Double Eagle was minted in 1850. With a mintage of over a million, it became a storehouse for the vast quantities of gold coming from California. In 1849 the California Gold Rush began in earnest. Privately minted gold coins circulated, but they were inconsistent in weight and fineness. The new coinage law provided for the gold Double Eagle. It was thought that it would standardize gold transactions. The government assay office also provided a place where gold dust, nuggets, and other bullion could be brought to test for purity. In passing the coinage law, it was felt that Double Eagles would be useful in large commercial transactions and in international trade. Approximately 75% of all of the United States gold coinage minted was in the form of Double Eagles. The mint in San Francisco struck the largest amount, 88,134,626 pieces while the New Orleans mint struck the least at 829,191.

Until the discovery of the shipwrecked S.S. Central America in 1985 by the Columbus-America Discovery Group, 1850’s Double Eagle coins in gem condition were virtually unavailable. The ship, originally called the S.S. George Law, was a United States mail steamship. In 1857 it sank off the coast of the Carolinas because of a huge hurricane. The ship was 272 feet long and had 578 passengers and crew on board. It also had on board over 5200 newly minted San Francisco gold Double Eagles. The ship was found at a depth of 8,500 feet off the coast of South Carolina. It is estimated that the total coins, ingots, and gold bars found on the ship were worth more than one hundred million dollars.

In 1933 the last Double Eagle was struck. Its controversial history leads to today’s court actions in which the ownership of ten coins that were in private hands is being contested. They were returned to the government for authentication and were then confiscated because the government claimed that they had never been officially issued and had to have been stolen.

An excellent source of information about Double Eagles is Bowers’ A Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins. In addition to the history of the coinage, Bowers provides information about the designers, the times, and the history of collecting. He also gives date by date information including market values, highest auction price, and availability of both circulation strikes and proof coins for all Double Eagles minted.


Double Eagle Gold Coins



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Gold Coins - Double Eagles - Double Eagle Gold Coins

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