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: $1042.09 (11/24/2015)
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 NGC 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: 11/10/2015

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

1865 S $20 MS
Base $ 1825 1900 2075 2400 3050 3400 3800 4150 5750 9100 13750 17750 26000 34000 60000 - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 1339
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
12/6/2015 AU Details  Heritage Auctions 2015 December 3 - 6 Houston Money Show US Coins Signature Auction - Houston Session(4), 1227/Lot# 8246

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/23/1998 NGC AU 50   Teletrade Auction 1107, 1107/Lot# 1958 $844.00
5/31/2001 NGC MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2001 June Long Beach Signature Sale #263, 263/Lot# 9217 $16,100.00
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
10/17/2012 NGC MS 63   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 3308 $10,350.00
6/27/2014 PCGS   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 2646 $2,115.00
6/29/2014 PCGS AU 53   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 06/29/2014, 187/Lot# 202538 $3,500.00
2/6/2015 PCGS XF 45   Stack's Bowers iAuction 3520, 6089/Lot# 22210 $1,997.50

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1865 S $20 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 3952
Owner: ftrifilio5
Grade: AU 50
Points: 3033
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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