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: $1160.52 (3/29/2015)
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: 11/14/2014

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

1865 S $20 MS
Base $ 1825 1900 1950 2200 2500 2500 3150 3500 4000 5400 7600 10000 14500 20500 27500 35000 57500 110000 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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: 1273
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
1/19/1998 NGC AU 50   Teletrade Auction 1016, 1016/Lot# 1924 $764.88
10/24/2006 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2006 October Dallas Signature Coin Auction #428, 428/Lot# 3221 $8,625.00
2/11/2007 NGC MS 62   Goldberg February 11-14, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 39/Lot# 2524 $5,520.00
2/28/2008 NGC MS 61   David Lawrence Rare Coins Thursday - Internet Auction # 226, 232/Lot# 6658 $4,524.10
3/2/2008 NGC AU 50   Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Coin Auction #68032, 68032/Lot# 62530 $1,380.00
12/3/2009 PCGS AU 50   Bonhams Coins and Banknotes, 17760/Lot# 1282 $1,872.00
8/2/2012 PCGS MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2012 August 2-5 US Coins Signature Auction- Philadelphia Session(3), 1173/Lot# 4735 $11,162.50
2/22/2013 NGC XF 40   Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 8144 $2,173.75
6/15/2014 NGC AU 58   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/15/2014, 196/Lot# 196838 $4,229.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1865 S $20 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 2645
Owner: ftrifilio5
Grade: AU 50
Points: 1416
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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