Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 80,120
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 33.4400g
AGW: 0.9675oz
Melt Value: $1756.68 (8/1/2021)
Diameter: 34mm
Edge: Reeded
Link to this coin

1871 $20 MS obverse 1871 $20 MS reverse
Images Courtesy of Heritage Auctions (HA.com)
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Description & Analysis

Gold coins did not circulate on the East Coast, Midwest, or South in 1871. This was because gold traded at a premium to Federal paper money, which could not be redeemed for specie. This had been the case since greenbacks were first introduced early in the Civil War, and it was not until 1878 that gold and paper money finally achieved parity. In the West, though, Federal paper money was often refused, and large payments were made in gold coin. This explains the high mintages of San Francisco double eagles relative to their Philadelphia Mint counterparts.

In 1871, gold mintages were even lower than usual. Production of gold dollars, quarter eagles, three dollar pieces, half eagles, and eagles ranged between 1,300 and 3,900 pieces. The 1871 Philadelphia double eagle mintage was only moderately higher at 80,120 pieces, likely struck for a trader to pay for imports, or simply to prevent the 30 proofs from becoming instant, prized rarities.

Despite the small mintage, there was no contemporary numismatic demand for double eagles, although gold dollars and three dollars did receive modest collector interest at the time. Most surviving 1871 twenties are in XF an AU grades. Examples with unbroken cartwheel luster and clean surfaces are great rarities.

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: 7/30/2021

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

1871 $20 MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 1880 1880 1880 2150 2500 3450 5300 7800 9200 10200 15000 30000 52500 82500 - - - - - -
$ - - 5500 8100 9500 - - - 60000 - - - - -

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: 293
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 53
High Grade: 64

The chart showing VF series, 40 series, 45 series, 50 series, 53 series, 55 series, 58 series, 60 series, 61 series, 62 series, 63 series, 64 series.
NGC CENSUS DETAIL Last Updated: 7/27/2021 1871 $20 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base----57413344608646-12------289
------------1---------1
---------1------------1
-----------------------
Total----57413344618647-12------291
 ----2%2%14%11%15%21%30%1%2%-0%1%------ 
1871 $20 MS PL
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970Total
Base---------11----2------4
-----------------------
-----------------------
-----------------------
Total---------11----2------4
 ---------25%25%----50%------ 

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1871 $20 MS PL
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base255625562556255626802885328433633948467450095237632482471008911787123531304813772145251558816707
255625562556259727483018331035584190478650855599696588611065511976125851328914023148791596117542
0000003310355841904786508555996965886110655119761258513289140231487900
0000003337375344324897516159627606947511221121641281613531142741523400
1871 $20 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base24362436243624362555275431393216378344854811503260897960975611413119651264413351140871512716222
243624362436247626212882316534054017459448855384671385591030811597121911288013596144341549217033
0000003165340540174594488553846713855910308115971219112880135961443400
0000003190359442514702495857377336915710861117811241813115138421478000
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 64 PL
Points: 11787
Owner: DougG
 
Grade: AU 58 PL
Points: 5085
Owner: ASK123
 
View the Registry Image Gallery

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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.