Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 1,170,261
Catalog: KM-74.1
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 33.4360g
AGW: 0.9675oz
Melt Value: $1110.40 (10/6/2015)
Diameter: 34mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1850 $20 MS obverse 1850 $20 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Production of the double eagle is tied to the enabling legislation for the gold dollar. The gold dollar was in trouble in the House, and Mint Director Robert Maskell Patterson opposed it as well. The objection was the tiny size of the gold dollar--it seemed to Patterson to be little more than play money and he deemed it unworthy of a great nation. However when the double eagle was added to the bill for the gold dollar, there was a new and powerful constituency for the larger coin. Bankers especially liked the twenty dollar gold piece as it could be used to store large quantities of money in a relatively small space. Thus, legislation for the gold dollar was passed on the coat tails of the double eagle's popularity.

Preparation of dies took considerable time in 1849 and only two patterns were struck with that date. One is in the Smithsonian today, and the whereabouts of the other piece are unknown. The 1849 twenty is obviously a pattern, as one can readily see when viewing the piece, which makes the 1850 the first year of regular issue for this highly collectible series. Relatively large numbers of 1850 twenties were set aside, no doubt as curiosities. Most survivors are XF-AU, and Uncirculated examples are rarely encountered.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/14/2014

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

1850 $20 MS
Base $ 1800 1875 1925 2200 3600 5750 6650 8850 12250 27500 41500 60000 115000 250000 - - - - -
$ 4700 6200 7250 9750 - - - - - - - - -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 1362
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 65

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
7/27/1998 NGC VF 35   Teletrade Auction 1071, 1071/Lot# 1825 $580.25
1/7/2004 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2004 Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Sale #336, 336/Lot# 3076 $36,800.00
7/5/2006 NGC AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2006 July Dallas, TX Coin Signature Auction #407, 407/Lot# 1629 $3,220.00
5/21/2007 NGC XF 45   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 143, 148/Lot# 1794 $1,610.00
1/29/2012 PCGS XF 45   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 01/29/2012, 5/Lot# 34789 $2,640.00
2/28/2012 PCGS MS 61   Stack's Bowers The March 2012 Baltimore Auction, 135/Lot# 4346 $18,457.50
12/5/2013 NGC Details UNC Details  Heritage Auctions 2013 December 5 - 8 US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1192/Lot# 5197 $3,055.00
1/26/2014 PCGS MS 62   Goldberg January 26-28, 2014 January Pre-Long Beach Sale 17.5% BP, 78/Lot# 1856 $34,075.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1850 $20 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 5610
Owner: Grandman
Grade: AU 55
Points: 4900
Owner: palmernck
View the Registry Image Gallery

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