Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 768,000
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 33.4400g
AGW: 0.9675oz
Melt Value: $1217.99 (5/24/2017)
Diameter: 34mm
Edge: Reeded
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1861 S $20 MS obverse 1861 S $20 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The first 19,250 double eagles coined in San Francisco early in 1861 had the special Paquet Reverse design. Once word was received to discontinue using that special reverse die, another 768,000 coins were minted with the normal Longacre reverse design. At the time they were struck, there were few if any collectors in San Francisco to preserve those coins, and virtually the entire mintage quietly slipped into the channels of commerce. The small number of Mint State coins known today, including the present example, survived purely as a matter of chance. For a denomination of such high value as a twenty dollar gold coin, the chance of survival is diminished further because of the significant face value of the coin. It was a lot of money at the time, and few could afford to have any similar pieces preserved for the future.

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/23/2016

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

1861 S $20 MS
Base $ 1800 1875 1925 2200 2750 3200 3500 5000 7150 14750 19500 34000 50000 - - - - - - -
$ - - - - 8250 - - 38500 - - - - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 849
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 63

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/11/2017 XF 45   Heritage Auctions 2017 June 8 - 11 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(4), 1256/Lot# 4989
6/11/2017 AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2017 June 8 - 11 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1256/Lot# 3887

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/17/1997 NGC XF 40   Teletrade Auction 0920, 920/Lot# 1816 $474.75
11/4/2004 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2004 November Palm Beach, FL Signature Sale #358, 358/Lot# 8744 $3,680.00
1/1/2007 NGC MS 60   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 120, 125/Lot# 6692 $8,797.50
2/1/2009 NGC XF 40   Goldberg February 1-4, 2009 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 51/Lot# 1605 $1,150.00
11/3/2010 NGC AU 55   Stack's Bowers The November 2010 Baltimore Auction, 44/Lot# 5352 $2,990.00
1/9/2013 NGC VF 30   Heritage Auctions 2013 January 9-13 US Coin FUN Signature Auction - Orlando Session(9), 1181/Lot# 13316 $2,062.13
8/12/2015 NGC AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2015 August 12 - 16 ANA US Coins Signature Auction - Chicago Session(5), 1223/Lot# 6376 $4,230.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1861 S $20 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 4694
Owner: ftrifilio5
Grade: AU 58
Points: 4694
Owner: Grandman
View the Registry Image Gallery

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