Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: New Orleans
Mintage: 17,741
Catalog: KM-74.1
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 33.4360g
AGW: 0.9675oz
Melt Value: $1023.13 (11/28/2015)
Diameter: 34mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1861 O $20 MS obverse 1861 O $20 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

An extremely popular issue among Southern gold specialists, the 1861-O is the final Double Eagle produced at the New Orleans Mint prior to 1879. The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 explains why three different governing authorities struck Double Eagles in New Orleans that year. In January, Union authorities delivered 5,000 examples. These were followed by an additional 9,750 pieces struck by the State of Louisiana from late January through May and a further 2,991 coins that the Confederate States of America produced after June 1. The combined mintage of the 1861-O Double Eagle, therefore, is 17,741 pieces. Numismatic legend has it that the surviving examples with soft definition on the bottom of the date are those coins that were produced by the Confederacy. This has been disproved because all survivors of this issue display some degree of weakness in this area. It seems that the date logotype was lightly impressed into the die. Extensive die polishing resulted in the prooflike finish that most '61-O Twenties display, but it also further weakened the bottom of the date. In a vain effort to correct this defect, an employee at the New Orleans Mint tried to re-engrave the lower edge of the 8.

While there is no way to determine which governing authority struck which 1861-O Double Eagles, the popularity and desirability of this issue remains constant among advanced collectors. Doug Winter's most recent (January 2002) estimate on the number of extant examples in all grades is 135-165 pieces, of which 30 coins grade AU50-AU58. To date, the '61-O is unknown in Mint State.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/9/2015

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

1861 O $20 MS
Base $ 6500 7500 9000 18750 38000 62500 68000 77000 97500 210000 - - - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 107
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 61

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/12/1999 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions 1999 February Long Beach Sale #197, 197/Lot# 6436 $5,520.00
3/5/2001 NGC VF 30   Teletrade Auction 1413, 1413/Lot# 1725 $2,268.25
1/9/2008 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2008 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #454, 454/Lot# 3311 $57,500.00
7/7/2011 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2011 July Orlando Summer FUN Signature US Coin Auction Session(3), 1157/Lot# 5012 $74,750.00
1/8/2014 NGC MS 60   Heritage Auctions 2014 January 8 - 12 FUN US Coin Signature Auction - Orlando Session(3), 1201/Lot# 5527 $146,875.00
4/13/2014 PCGS AU 53   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 04/13/2014, 181/Lot# 186761 $52,251.10
5/20/2015 NGC XF 40   Stack's Bowers The Rarities Sale, 6109/Lot# 83 $38,187.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1861 O $20 MS
1861 O $20 MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 60
Points: 14347
Owner: Stiel Coin Collection
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