Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: New Orleans
Mintage: 17,741
Catalog: KM-74.1
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 33.44g
AGW: 0.9675oz
Melt Value: $1226.02 (10/26/2016)
Diameter: 34mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

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: 7/11/2016

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 155000 210000 - - - - - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 105
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
8/17/1996 PCGS XF 40   Heritage Auctions 1996 ANA Signature Sale #163, 163/Lot# 8506 $2,530.00
5/1/2005 PCGS XF 40   Teletrade Auction 2033, 2033/Lot# 1859 $7,480.00
5/30/2007 NGC AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2007 May/June Long Beach, CA Signature US Coin Auction #438, 438/Lot# 2558 $43,125.00
6/26/2008 PCGS AU 53   Heritage Auctions 2008 June West Palm Beach, FL (Summer FUN) Signature Coin Auction #1110, 1110/Lot# 2272 $51,750.00
4/13/2014 PCGS AU 53   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 04/13/2014, 181/Lot# 186761 $52,251.10
8/5/2014 PCGS Genuine AU   Heritage Auctions 2014 August 5, 7 & 9 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(4), 1208/Lot# 5703 $15,275.00
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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