Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $20 (1850-1907)
Mint: San Francisco
Mintage: 768,000
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: $1198.15 (2/12/2016)
Diameter: 34mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
Link to this coin

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: 11/10/2015

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

1861 S $20 MS
Base $ 1800 1875 1925 2200 2650 3700 4100 5450 7500 21500 36500 51500 - - - - - - -
$ - - - - 9250 - - - - - - - -

NGC Price and Value Guides Disclaimer



Total Graded: 843
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 63

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/5/2006 NGC AU 58   Goldberg February 5-8, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 34/Lot# 1307 $4,485.00
1/1/2007 NGC MS 60   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 120, 125/Lot# 6692 $8,797.50
6/4/2007 PCGS AU 50   Teletrade Auction 2376, 2376/Lot# 1986 $2,016.00
12/20/2009 PCGS VF 35   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction #29125, 29125/Lot# 28565 $1,495.00
6/14/2011 NGC AU 53   Stack's Bowers The June 2011 Baltimore Auction, 92/Lot# 9736 $3,162.50
3/4/2012 NGC XF 45   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131211/Lot# 30543 $2,185.00
4/24/2013 NGC XF 40   Heritage Auctions 2013 April 24 - 28 CSNS US Coin Signature Auction - Chicago Session(9), 1184/Lot# 9388 $2,232.50
9/25/2013 NGC AU 53   Heritage Auctions 2013 September 25 - 29 US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(4), 1189/Lot# 5395 $3,290.00

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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