Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 1,042,500
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 33.4400g
AGW: 0.9675oz
Melt Value: $1736.08 (2/25/2021)
Diameter: 34mm
Edge: Reeded
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1865 S $20 MS obverse 1865 S $20 MS reverse
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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.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 2/25/2021

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

1865 S $20 MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 1865 1865 1865 2200 2400 2650 3000 3650 5000 6500 8000 12500 19750 23500 35000 50000 - - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The prices listed in the various NGC Price and Value Guides are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. Prices provided are averages, not specific prices for individual coins. Further, because these prices are only updated from time to time, they do not reflect short term pricing trends, which are quite common and are often quite dramatic, given the volatile nature of the collectible coin marketplace. This is especially true for rare coins, where there are fewer sales and greater variations in sale prices. For all of these reasons, the prices in these guides are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and factors that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and — when appropriate — expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Guides. By using the NGC Guides, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the Guides.

Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 1467
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 66

The chart showing F series, VF series, 40 series, 45 series, 50 series, 53 series, 55 series, 58 series, 60 series, 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series, 65 series, 66 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 2/23/2021 1865 S $20 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base---14291268143166143139248310911081589----1467
-----------------------
--------1----2-11-----5
-----------------------
Total---14291268143167143139248311111082599----1472
 ---0%3%6%18%10%11%10%9%2%6%8%7%6%4%1%---- 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1865 S $20 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base190723522401243326432807295830333216344739524591515860076685755589961551122360327504869673432
2055236824122503269828572983309432933615416547805441623369758035111681779425823380655694177104
00000029833094329336154165478054416233697580351116817794258233806500
00000030083155337037844378496957246459726585161333920077292874338100
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 3952
Owner: Hugh Stiel Rare Coins
 
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.
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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The auction prices realized listed in the NGC Auction Central are compiled from a number of independent, third party sources in the numismatic community which NGC believes to be reliable. The auction data listed by NGC may occasionally contain typographical or input errors that can result in incorrect prices realized appearing on the NGC website. Therefore, the prices realized listed in NGC Auction Central are designed to serve merely as one of many measures and facts that coin buyers and sellers can use in determining coin values. These prices are not intended, and should not be relied upon, to replace the due diligence and – when appropriate – expert consultation that coin buyers and sellers should undertake when entering into a coin transaction. As such, NGC disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information contained in the NGC Auction Central. By using the NGC Auction Central, the user agrees that neither NGC nor any of its affiliates, shareholders, officers, employees or agents shall have any liability for any loss or damage of any kind, including without limitation any loss arising from reliance on the information contained in the NGC Auction Central.