When the California Gold Rush made the United States a wealthy country almost overnight, the federal government realized that it could use its new resources to simplify huge transactions by minting gold coins in large denominations. Because pretty much everyone still distrusted paper money, large payments were usually made in coins, thanks to their inherent value as precious metal. The largest gold coin at the time was the eagle (worth $10), which could make big transactions cumbersome.

Thus, in February 1849, Congress passed the Gold Dollar Bill, which authorized the U.S. Mint to begin coining $20 gold coins. Because it was worth twice as much as the eagle, this new coin became known as the double eagle.

Double eagles were minted from 1850 to 1933. In this period, the coin appeared with two major designs: the Liberty Head design (1850 to 1907) and the Saint-Gaudens design (1907 to 1933).

James B. Longacre designed the Liberty Head double eagle coin. The obverse featured a profile of Lady Liberty wearing an elaborate coronet. On the reverse was the eagle, with a motto ribbon on each side.

This design underwent two major changes. In 1866, with religious sentiment riding high after the Civil War, “In God We Trust” was added within a circle of stars over the eagle’s head on the coin’s reverse. This motto had first appeared just two years earlier on two-cent coins and became increasingly common as the century progressed.

In 1877, the reverse of the coin was modified yet again. Previously, the coin’s denomination was indicated as “Twenty D.” beneath the eagle crest. In 1877, “Dollars” replaced the “D.” abbreviation.

Other small changes were made over the years, but one particularly notable version was the 1861 Paquet Reverse. The government hired Anthony Paquet to make a few small modificati...

As the most valuable regular-issue American coin ever minted, the double eagle posed an obvious attraction to counterfeiters. After the Civil War, one method was particularly popular—counterfeiters would slice the coin in half, take out the gold, replace it with platinum, and put it back together. Perhaps amateur in comparison to today’s methods, these counterfeits were quite convincing at the time, so much so that the director of the U.S. Mint recommended that the coin be discontinued. These platinum counterfeits, however, have become collectible in their own right.

In 1907, the government released a completely redesigned coin, created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the request of Theodore Roosevelt. The obverse featured a Hellenistic-style portrait of Lady Liberty in a flowing gown, bearing an olive branch and a torch. Unlike the previous coin, this one portrayed Lady Liberty’s entire body, striding toward the viewer. On the reverse was an eagle flying over a rising sun. Some numismatists consider it the most beautiful American coin ever made.

The first pressings of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle featured an unusually high relief. Additionally, because Roosevelt thought that printing “In God We Trust” on a coin was sacrilegious, the coin appeared without this motto. It also featured Roman numerals for the year (MCMVII), rather than the usual Arabic numerals.

In 1908, Congress added “In God We Trust” over the rising sun on the reverse of the coin, changed the Roman numerals to Arabic numerals, and lowered the coin’s relief. Because it was changed so quickly, collectors treasure the 1907 coins, especially those with the distinctive high relief.

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Recent News: US Twenty Dollar Gold Coins

Source: Google News

CCAC Recommendations for 2015 High Relief Gold Coin and Silver Medal
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April Stafford of the United States Mint began the discussion by explaining the that the high relief gold coin with a placeholder denomination of $75 would be issued following the success of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle. A silver medal...Read more

Evening of Hope Benefits Candlelighters Childhood
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To date, participating restaurants and specialty food providers include: Capital Grille, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, Dom DeMarco's, Hash House a Go Go, Mundo, Paymon's Mediterranean Grill and Sprinkles Cupcakes (featured on national...Read more

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Las Cruces Sun-News, January 24th

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As seen on TV: Murderous coin dealer in 'Streets of San Francisco' strikes ...
Coin World, January 22nd

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Annual quilt show brightens Harrison Community Library
Tribune-Review, January 18th

The more recent one, “Double Eagle,” depicts gold-color eagles on a white background. Both are completely hand-stitched and are full-size quilts. “And they're in amazing condition,” Mock says. Mock and her mother have visited the library's quilt show...Read more

Tee to green: Mitchell scores a rare double eagle
Chico Enterprise-Record, January 5th

Mitchell laced a 230-yard, 3-wood onto the green and into the cup for a double eagle. Mitchell's accomplishment was reported to me by Bob ... The players play from the gold (championship) tees at 7,000-yards. There were only six gross skins scored...Read more

Rare US Coin Sales Hit $5 Billion in 2014, Says PNG
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Sold for nearly $4.6 million, this 1787-dated gold Brasher Doubloon was one of a dozen United States rare coins that crossed the million dollar mark at auctions in 2014, another auctions record year for the estimated $5 billion U.S. rare coin market...Read more

Rare 'double eagle' gold coin could fetch $1.5 million
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A rare 1907 double eagle $20 coin designed by famed American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens could sell for as much as $1.5 million at auction Tuesday. The lustrous gold piece is one of four experimental relief $20 coins that were minted in...Read more