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1854 $20 Kellogg & Co., San Francisco, Double Eagle Gold Coin

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    Posted 12 years ago

    (13 items)

    The 1854 Kellogg & Co. $20 double eagle gold coin is very similar in design to that of federal double eagles being produced at that time. The most noticable differences were the name "Kellogg & Co." replacing the word "Liberty" on the obverse, and the words "San Francisco California" replacing "United States of America" on the reverse.

    The creation of the $20 double eagle gold coin was a direct result of the California Gold Rush. Coinage of both gold dollars and double eagles was authorized by an act of Congress on March 3, 1849, and by 1850 the first regular issue double eagles were being produced in Philadelphia and New Orleans. (My complete collection of double eagles is at

    Another Act of Congress on July 3, 1852 authorized a U.S. branch mint to be built in San Francisco.

    By February of 1854, the U.S. Assay Office in San Francisco had been discontinued and no other private mints were producing coins. The new U.S. branch mint had not yet begun operations and businesses were clamoring for someone to produce coins.

    The company Kellogg & Richter answered the call by producing Kellogg & Co. $20 gold pieces. Later that same year, the U.S. branch mint opened its doors. The company Kellogg & Richter was reorganized as Kellogg & Humbert, and continued to produce $20 gold coins in 1855 even though the new branch mint had begun producing them as well.

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    1. Deborah Thompson, 12 years ago
      I have a Twenty dollor gold piece dated 1854. The one I have is encased in a gold money clip. It is in a coin box labled Royale Gems. Did they ever sell this coin as a money clip, or would someone have made it into a money clip. I do not know if the coin is authentic.
    2. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      It is very possible that someone made a coin clip out of a double eagle coin and that yours is real. Almost all types of coins have been made into all sorts of jewelry at one time or another. However, $20 was a lot of money back then so the money clip must have been made for someone with money to spend.

      You should post a picture of the money clip here in the Show & Tell. If you have a digital camera, look for the "macro" setting to get a good closeup picture. If the picture is good enough, I might be able to give you an idea if the coin is real or not.
    3. taylor , 12 years ago
      yea i have the same coin in a money clip but i have no clue if its real?? can u maybe help me?
    4. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      taylor - Post an image of the money clip in the Show & Tell area under "Unsolved Mysteries." Then I can take a look at it and I might be able to tell you if it's real.

      Or take it to a local coin club (I don't always trust local dealers) and I'm sure the members will tell you if it's real.
    5. Phil marasigan, 12 years ago
      Give me the price of san francisco 1854 $20 Kellogg & Co. Double eagle gold coin.
    6. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @ Phil - These coins run a very wide range from just a few thousand dollars in "fine" condition to over $16,000 in AU-58 like the coin above. Uncirculated examples (mint state) are a minimum of $28,000 and quickly move into 6 figures the nicer the coin gets.

      This is according to the PCGS Price Guides which you can find here:

    7. Jane Brida, 12 years ago
      Received a this coin from my parents but on the back of it is says copy. Does it still have any value? Thank you.
    8. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @Jane - I'm sorry I have some bad news for you. That word COPY on the reverse means that you have a replica coin.

      National Collectors Mint (among others) sells replicas like this that they call "Gold Clad" and "Tribute" coins. They sell the double eagle replicas for about $20.

      However, the actual value of the gold in the double eagle replica coins tends to be only about $1.20 at recent gold prices. You can often find them selling on eBay for between $5 to $10.

      I wrote the article at the link below a few years ago to help people figure out the value of the gold or silver content before they purchased one of these gold or silver "clad" coins. I used the 9/11 "Gold and Silver Clad" Commemorative as my example. At 2006 gold and silver prices, it came to less than 30 cents worth of gold and silver in the coin which was selling for $29.95 plus s/h.

      Here's the article:
    9. brandon leaman, 12 years ago
      i have a 1854 kellogg gold coin how can i tell if its real or not i found it about 12 years ago when i was digging in my back yard the back of the coin is in rough cundison i cant see any thing on the back but i just want to no how much its worth. thank you for your time
    10. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @ Brandon - That's a very cool story about digging one up in the backyard. It kind of makes you wonder what else might be buried there.

      If it's real, your coin is at least worth the price of its gold content which is about 1 ounce of gold. At current prices, that's about $1,200. Then depending on its condition, its numismatic value will go up from there. In the condition of the coin pictured above, it would sell for about $12,000.

      So if your coin is the same as the one pictured above and its real, the value would be somewhere between those two numbers. Post a picture of it so we can take a look.

      Other than that, the best way to find out if its real is to take it to local coin club and show it off. If its real or fake, they'll let you know.

      I wouldn't take it to a coin dealer unless you already know one that's trustworthy. There are a lot of honest coin dealers out there, but there's more than a few sharks out there as well. They prey on people that aren't sure of what they have.
    11. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @ Brandon - Here's a link that will help you to check current values on your coin:

      Near the bottom right under the heading Territorials, click on California Gold which will take you to the prices on the PCGS website. Then scroll down to PCGS no. 10222. If you coin is not a 1854 Kellogg $20, then you would need to look up the appropriate coin.
    12. joanne, 12 years ago
      1854 $20 kellogg coin and it says copy is it real and how much is it worth
    13. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @Joanne - The word COPY on the reverse means that you have a replica coin.

      National Collectors Mint (among others) sells replicas like this that they call "Gold Clad" and "Tribute" coins. They sell the double eagle replicas for about $20.

      However, the actual value of the gold in the double eagle replica coins tends to be only about $1.20 at recent gold prices. You can often find them selling on eBay for between $5 to $10.
    14. katiejean, 12 years ago
      I have an 1865 20.00 double eagle gold coin. The plastic cover it is in says type 1 1865-S. I would say in fine condition, is it worth anything?
    15. Tom, 12 years ago
      i found a 1854 San Francisco California Twenty D. coin with liberty head and kellogg & co in the front. however, slightly above the N and T in the word TWENTY, there is a "c" with a circle around the letter c. Is this coin real? i didnt see any pictures of this coin with that letter. please kindly advise.
    16. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @katiejean - If your coin is real, then it's worth about the price of an ounce of gold which has been hanging around the $1,400 range. Once you get to "about uncirculated," the coin starts to add a numismatic premium. But in "Very Fine" or below it's basically the price of gold bullion.
    17. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @ Tom - I believe you have a replica coin that is not real. The U.S. Hobby Protection Act requires replica numismatic items to have the word COPY prominently displayed on them, but yours could have been produced prior to the law and the little copyright symbol really stands for COPY.

      I saw an example like yours about 4 or 5 years ago with the circled C in the same location. It was a replica that looked like it was made out of brass or copper. The coloring really gave that coin away that it was not real. Here's a link to the image of that coin:
    18. Alec , 12 years ago
      I am the great great grandson of William Richter. I have a 1854 Kellogg and Co coin which by family story was one Richter made and gave as a present to his niece and has remained in our family. What is the approximate value of such a coin. We have several other gold coins, one of which is octagonal shaped. Is it real?
    19. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @Alec - I love stories like yours. It's very possible all the coins are real, especially if they have been handed down from generation to generation. Whatever you do, don't clean the coins. As they say at the Antique Roadshow, patina is good on coins like these. Clean them and make them shiny again and you can take thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars off their possible value.

      An "authentic" 1854 Kellogg $20 double eagle like the one shown above can be worth anything from a few thousand dollars to well over $20,000 depending on its condition.

      In 1854 the firm "Kellogg & Co." actually referred to a partnership between John Kellogg and G.F. Richter. In October of that year, Kellogg dissolved the partnership and later reorganized as Kellogg and Humbert. But during that year, Kellogg and Richter actually minted these coins in the basement of a building at 106 Montgomery Street in San Francisco.

      But I am a little confused about who William Richter was. Kellogg's partner was G. F. Richter, not William Richter. G. F. Richter had been a cashier and assayer working for the U. S. Assay Office before going into business with fellow employee John Kellogg.

      Could William possibly have been G.F.'s son and he was given the coin by his father? It could make a real interesting story if you could fill in the details a little.

      As far as the octagonal coin, it could be a number of possibilities depending on its size. If its very small, it's probably a small denomination California private issue. These would be gold coins with denominations of 25 cents, 50 cents, and a dollar. These are generally worth a couple of hundred dollars to maybe a thousand dollars depending on the coin. A couple of varieties even go as high as $5,000 or so.

      If the octagonal coin is very large, it could be a 50 dollar gold piece by Augustus Humbert when he ran the United States Assay Office. He eventually became the partner with Kellogg after Richter. It was also Humbert that Richter would have worked for at the assay office. If your coin is one of these, you've hit the jackpot as even a poor condition one is worth well over $10,000 and really nice uncirculated examples run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      If these two coins are real, then it sounds like you could have some other interesting gold coins as well. Your story is a good one if you can document a connection to G. F. Richter at Kellogg & Co.

      If you post some pictures, I can give you more definitive answers about your coins. Or if you want to talk about this offline, you can reach me through my contact page at:

      It's a very cool story and you potentially could have some very valuable coins.
    20. Susana, 12 years ago
      I own a $20 dlls kellogg coin who says copy on the back does it have any worth??? how much??
    21. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @ Susana

      Unfortunately the word COPY means that it is a replica coin. They aren't worth anything to collectors and usually sell for under $20.
    22. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @AR8Jason - What a great question. The reason is because this coin has original surfaces and has not been "dipped" in a chemical solution to brighten it or make it shiny. Many collectors, myself included, prefer coins with original surfaces versus those that have been altered. It is these "original" coins that bring higher values at auction since most 19th century gold coins have been dipped over the years. It's sort of like going to the antique roadshow and having them tell you your antique would be worth more if you had left the patina on it. The same is true with 19th century gold as long as it is still appealing to the eye.

      So some people have asked me why do they tone if they are gold?

      Most gold coins are not 100% gold and are alloyed with other metals, usually copper and silver. U.S. $20 gold double eagles are 90% gold and have between 5% to 10% copper and from zero to 5% silver. So even though they are gold, they can and do tone over time.

      The Kellogg coin pictured above has both reddish-gold and greenish-gold hues. According to the Federal Reserve (which has a lot of gold in their possession), the red indicates there is some copper in the gold, and green indicates there is some iron in the gold.
    23. AC_Dwyer AC_Dwyer, 12 years ago
      @AR8Jason - Below is a link to one of the best articles I've seen discussing the "original" coloring of gold coins. It was written by Doug Winter who in my mind is the top numismatic expert in the country when it comes to 19th century gold coins. There are lots of great pictures showing coins with original surfaces.
    24. c cook, 12 years ago
      I have an 1854 Kellogg & Co. coin. It is similar to several I have seen on here, however, it has nothing on the back it just rough! So I am just wondering if it has any real value.
    25. bray scott, 11 years ago
      how much is the 20 dollar coin worth right now in 2011
    26. rocker-sd rocker-sd, 11 years ago
      With the daily price of gold and silver rising so fast right now, how can one keep abreast of the collectors value of coins?
    27. Judy Summers, 11 years ago
      I have a Gold coin with Lady Liberty's head on one side and the year 1854 and
      on the opposite side it has : Eagle with spread wings and thirteen stars over his head
      - San Francisco California - Twenty D.
      Does this have value. It is inset into a filigre gold circle that is held by a gold chain.
      My father in-law gave it to my mother-in-law about 25 years ago as a gift. He was very well off but very frugal as well so I'm not sure if it is a reproduction or not. Can you help?
    28. Sue, 11 years ago
      Hello...I know the 20.00 Kellogg & Co. gold S.F. gold piece that I have is a copy, as it says so. I was just wondering why someone would have this inserted in a bezel, which appears old and is surrounded by either diamonds or cubic zirconia......I have not yet taken it to a Jeweler. I also am curious as to who made these copies? I have had this for years. I keep losing it and then it pops up in one place or another. Thank you.
    29. Danielle R, 11 years ago
      Hi..I have a gold coin from my great grandma that I have had since I was very young and I have been trying to find out what it is worth because a lot of people tell me it is worth a lot. It is called a double eagle $20.00 gold coin. It has 13 stars on the front with a ladies head and the year 1854. On the back has the United States of America and Twenty D. and an eagle in the middle. It is very shiny like it has never been touched and it is in a plastic piece that my grandma always kept in her safety deposit box. Can you please tell me what it is worth before I take it to someone and get cheated. Thank You D
    30. Tacheka Martin, 11 years ago
      I have a coin exactly like the photo above. It's a little dirty but in great condition. How much is this coin worth?
    31. Robert Kelly, 11 years ago
      Hello i to have a 1854 liberty twenty D gold coin and after i searched and read most of all the others Questions im just about sure i got one of the top ten or twenty coins from listening and reading all questions, My coin is in prestine condition i believe it is discolored just as you discribed , in excellent shape it was in a gold pendent for hanging on a neckless(chain), and i even might think its one of the real fine line boarder too. It was given to my mother back in the late 60's early 70's from here mom , and we were told it was Woodroll Wilsons and was given to my Grandmother, its been put away and non touched for many many yearsover twenty five years with me alone. and non touched as far as i know, its remarkably magnificent in color and unbelievably condition, like to know if can be athenticated and researched to verify of its original owner (Woodroll Wilson) do to it being made for him?
      Thankyou RK
    32. Jack G, 11 years ago
      I have an 1854 San Francisco mint Kellogg & Co. 20 gold coin. From the research i have done i see there is apparently four different styles of this coin ( 1,1a,1b & 2 ). I am trying to figure out which one i have. Kellogg & Co. is low on the coronet and there is a ball on the tail of the 5. I've been unable to find very much information to distinguish the difference between the four. Any help would be appreciated
    33. Stacy, 11 years ago
      I have one of the 1854 $20 Kellog San Francisco coins. However the only difference I see from the photos is on the Eagles side there is not a Halo across the top from wing to wing. Everything else is identical. Where there replicas, or commemorative versions made at some point?
    34. aicsob, 11 years ago
      I also have this coin mounted in pendant, the back is open and is blank and slightly concaved. The thirteen stars on front look more like daisys then stars. Just wondering if real or not. thanks
    35. Andromedus, 6 years ago
      I have a gold $20 Double Eagle 1854 Kellogg & Co. 1oz gold coin that's been given to me that's been placed in a gold plated bezel & hanging on a gold plated chain & the pendant is covering up the reverse side of the coin but I know it's real gold. My question is: How do I go about removing the coin without damaging it?
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