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: $1246.14 (8/29/2014)
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1865 S $20 MS obverse 1865 S $20 MS reverse

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There are no varieties for this coin.

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.


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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
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 - -
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Total Graded: 1265
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/6/2014 MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2014 September 4 - 6 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(1), 1209/Lot# 3476

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/11/2007 NGC MS 62   Goldberg February 11-14, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 39/Lot# 2524 $5,520.00
7/12/2007 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2007 Summer F.U.N. (July, West Palm Beach, FL) Signature Coin Auction #442, 442/Lot# 2873 $10,931.90
4/21/2008 NGC XF 45   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 240, 246/Lot# 1210 $1,265.00
4/27/2008 NGC MS 63   Teletrade Auction 2521, 2521/Lot# 2710 $8,064.00
12/3/2009 PCGS AU 50   Bonhams Coins and Banknotes, 17760/Lot# 1282 $1,872.00
8/11/2011 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2011 August Chicago Signature US Coin & Platinum Night Auction Session(4), 1158/Lot# 5807 $12,650.00
6/29/2014 PCGS AU 53   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/29/2014, 187/Lot# 202538 $3,500.00
8/6/2014 PCGS MS 62   Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 12032 $9,400.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1865 S $20 MS
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.
View full article >

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