Ex-SS Brother Jonathan #696. This
fully lustrous, Western branch mint, Choice Mint State
1865-S Double Eagle comes with the provenance of the shipwrecked
SS Brother Jonathan. The coin is a mixture of light and
dark yellow and rose gold.
The surfaces are extremely clean
for the grade with no notable abrasion marks. The strike
is above average with full details on the centers of
most of the obverse stars, Liberty’s hair, and
the design details of the reverse, especially the eagle.
The coin is eye-appealing and has the look of a higher
Please contact me by email
or telephone 1-800-624-1870
to reserve this great coin.
The double eagle was designed by James
B. Longacre. It 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 is between the tail feathers
and the N of TWENTY.
In 1865, the SS Brother Jonathan was
headed from San Francisco to Portland. It carried about
150 passengers, a crew of 60 and a large cargo that
included an unknown quantity of gold coins. The ship
ran into heavy winds and put in to port at Crescent
City. In the morning the voyage was resumed, but the
seas were still rough. The captain ordered it returned
to port, but it struck a submerged rock that was hidden
just below the surface of the water. The ship sank along
with most of the passengers, crew, and captain.
In the 1990’s a group of investors
formed Deep Sea Research, Inc. and found the ship
and recovered its treasure. The 1865-S double eagles
that were recovered are, according to Garrett and
Guth in their Encyclopedia, “…tangible
links to these fascinating treasures and an important
time in American history.”