Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 1,042,500
Catalog: KM-A74.1
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 33.4360g
AGW: 0.9675oz
Melt Value: $1296.06 (7/13/2014)
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1865 S $20 MS obverse 1865 S $20 MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

When the Brother Jonathan smashed against a large rock and sank on July 30, 1865 off the coast of Crescent City, California, it was not only gold coins that were lost. That may be all that we remember today, but 219 people also slipped beneath the waves. General George Wright, who was to assume his new post at Fort Vancouver, Anson Henry, governor of the Washington Territory, eight prostitutes (or 'soiled doves' in the vernacular of the day), were among the more colorful passengers that lost there lives that fateful day. Additionally, $300,000-$500,000 in cargo went down, 346 barrels of whiskey, $200,000 in payroll for U.S. troops at Fort Vancouver, and more than $100,000 in jewelry and cash in the purser's safe. Many of the gold bars carried on the steamship were recovered between 1916 and the early 1930s. But only in the past few years have high grade double eagles been recovered and entered the numismatic marketplace.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 5/28/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1865 S $20 MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 1825 1900 1950 2150 2350 2350 3050 3350 3800 5100 7350 8500 12500 17500 23750 31500 52500 110000 - - -
$ 2600 3300 3600 4150 5500 8000 10500 14500 19500 26250 34000 57500 - -
NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1261
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 66


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
12/12/2005 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2005 December Dallas Signature Auction #398, 398/Lot# 1642 $9,775.00
2/11/2007 NGC MS 62   Goldberg February 11-14, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 39/Lot# 2523 $5,520.00
2/28/2008 NGC MS 61   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 226, 232/Lot# 6658 $4,524.10
12/3/2009 PCGS AU 50   Bonhams Coins and Banknotes, 17760/Lot# 1282 $1,872.00
8/7/2010 NGC MS 60   Stack's Bowers The August 2010 Boston Rarities Sale, 34/Lot# 1840 $2,587.50
9/16/2013 NGC XF 45   Teletrade Auction 3448, 3448/Lot# 2688 $1,750.00
2/27/2014 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2014 February 27 - 28 & March 2 Mid-Winter ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Atlanta Session(2), 1203/Lot# 4264 $15,862.50
6/29/2014 PCGS AU 53   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/29/2014, 187/Lot# 202538 $3,500.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1865 S $20 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base7218068969961103116612961416198022742645286030093281373041415747775610589144572009828434
7498369291031112412091336160420782397271629093099343038674676641687001187816337228760
000000133616042078239727162909309934303867467664168700118781633700
000000137617922176252127882959319035804004521170869644131671821700
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 50
Points: 1416
Owner: G & R coins
 
Grade: XF 45
Points: 1296
Owner: G & R coins
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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NGC Certifies Newly-Retrieved Gold

11/1/2003  — Thirty-eight gold double eagles of the San Francisco Mint have been certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation as having come from the final dive on Brother Jonathan, a steamship lost to the sea in 1865.
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