Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 351,175
Catalog: KM-A74.1
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 33.44g
AGW: 0.9675oz
Melt Value: $1223.50 (10/25/2016)
Diameter: 34mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

1865 $20 MS obverse 1865 $20 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

At the tail end of the Civil War, few gold coins were struck, and most were immediately hoarded and melted. The mintage of this issue was 351,175 coins, and the survival rate is quite small in any Mint State grade, let alone Gem quality. This was the year of two shipwrecks, both important in numismatic circles. On July 30, 1865, the S.S. Brother Jonathan sank off the coast of Crescent City, California, in the far northern part of that state. Although many searches for the ship and its treasure took place, it was not until the 1990s that a successful recovery took place. Deep Seat Research, Inc. located the treasure, and recovered over 1,200 gold coins, mostly 1865-S Double Eagles in Mint State condition. There were also two 1865 Double Eagles from the Philadelphia Mint. About three months later, the S.S. Republic sank of the coast of Georgia, the result of a hurricane. This ship was finally located in July 2003 by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. By January 2004, over 17,000 coins had been recovered along with several hundred other artifacts.

A 2002 reference by Douglas Winter and Adam Crum summarized the important of this issue, and of this coin: 'The 1865 double eagle is a relatively scarce date, although not nearly as much so as the 1862, 1863, and 1864. It is most often seen in Very Fine and Extremely Fine grades. It is scarce in the lower About Uncirculated grades and very scarce in properly graded About Uncirculated-55 to About Uncirculated-58. It is very rare in Uncirculated and there are just two or three currently known that grade higher than Mint State-62.'

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.

1865 $20 MS
Base $ 1800 1875 2050 2400 3000 3500 4000 5200 6700 9250 11500 17600 27500 36000 72500 - - - - -
$ - - - - - - - 20000 - - - - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 782
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 58
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
3/7/2004 NGC AU 58   Teletrade Auction 1853, 1853/Lot# 1357 $2,475.00
2/11/2008 NGC MS 63   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 221, 227/Lot# 4164 $18,975.00
5/24/2009 NGC MS 65   Goldberg May 24-27, 2009 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 53/Lot# 1366 $28,175.00
5/13/2012 PCGS AU 50   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/13/2012, 22/Lot# 51157 $2,311.10
2/7/2013 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(2), 1182/Lot# 3995 $15,862.50
2/3/2014 NGC MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2014 February 3 - 5 US Coins Signature Auction - New York Session(4), 1202/Lot# 5413 $17,625.00
3/28/2014 PCGS MS 64   Stack's Bowers March 2014 Baltimore Auction, 6008/Lot# 5068 $881.25
8/6/2014 PCGS MS 64   Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 12031 $25,850.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1865 $20 MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 4403
Owner: davidmckay
Grade: AU 58
Points: 4403
Owner: Grandman
View the Registry Image Gallery

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