The discovery of gold in 1848 at Sutter’s Mill in California persuaded Congress to expand its use in coin production. In March of 1849, legislation authorized the mintage of two new denominations of gold coins, the one dollar and twenty-dollar gold pieces, which became the smallest and largest regular production gold coins ever made in terms of both value and size. The government needed a larger coin than the existing $10 piece to accommodate the massive quantities of gold being mined in California. The resulting $20 gold piece, commonly referred to as the “double eagle,” is an impressive coin. Containing nearly one full ounce of gold, it is a pleasure to hold these hefty pieces in your hand. The double eagle’s purchasing power was enormous and amounted to over a month of ordinary wages in 1850. Many people could not even afford to own one. The obverse features a left-facing Liberty wearing a coronet, or small crown, encircled by 13 stars representing the original states. The reverse shows a heraldic eagle with a shield on its chest holding a double ribbon inscribed E PLURIBUS UNUM, as well as an olive branch and arrows in its talons. Above the eagle is a halo of 13 stars and an arc of rays. Offered here is a lightly circulated example produced at the Carson City Mint in 1876, bearing the CC mint-mark. This mint was built close to the Com-stock Lode, which was the first major discovery of silver ore in the United States. It produced 50 different issues of silver coins and 57 issues of gold coins from 1870-1893. This storied mint of the Wild West was plagued by numerous production problems and political issues throughout its short life and produced relatively few coins compared to its counterparts in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Further, the coins it did produce circulated heavily in the primitive conditions of the Old West mining towns, subjecting them to considerable damage and wear. Consequently, coins bearing the CC mint mark are generally quite rare today and are among the most sought-after coins in American numismatics. The 1876 Carson City issue offered here is of the Type 2 variety, which features the IN GOD WE TRUST motto on the reverse. Further, the shield has curved sides, rather than straight ones that appear on the original Type 1 variety. Only several hundred of these coins are known to exist in this condition or better. For the ambitious collector looking to complete a set, please see our other Touch of Modern listings for examples of the Type 1 and Type 3 varieties. You will receive the unique coin shown in the photos housed in a luxurious matte black wood box lined in velvet with a certificate of authenticity.
Type: $20 Liberty Head Gold Double Eagle (1849-1907)
Variety: Type 2, With Motto (1866-1876)
Designer: James Barton Longacre
Weight: 33.4 grams
Diameter: 34.00 mm
Composition: 0.900 gold and 0.100 copper
Net gold weight: 0.9675 oz pure gold
Obverse Design: Liberty with coronet, facing left / 13 stars
Obverse Inscription: LIBERTY / DATE
Reverse Design: Heraldic eagle with double ribbon, shield, olive branch, and arrows / Halo of 13 stars / Arc of rays
Reverse Inscription: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / IN GOD WE TRUST / E PLURIBUS UNUM / TWENTY D.
The product offered for sale in this listing has been certified by one or more professional certification services, so you can be confident in the authenticity and stated condition.