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: $1182.48 (5/25/2016)
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: 11/10/2015

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 11500 17600 27500 36000 72500 - - - - -
$ - - - - - - 20000 - - - - - -

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Total Graded: 783
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
3/11/1996 NGC XF 45   Teletrade Auction 0822, 822/Lot# 906 $553.88
5/27/2007 NGC AU 55   Goldberg May 27-30, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 41/Lot# 1703 $1,783.00
9/17/2008 PCGS AU 50   Heritage Auctions 2008 September Long Beach, CA US Coin Signature Auction #1116, 1116/Lot# 4085 $1,610.00
6/27/2014 PCGS XF 45   Stack's Bowers June 2014 Baltimore, 6021/Lot# 2644 $3,525.00
9/7/2014 NGC   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 09/07/2014, 191/Lot# 212531 $25.00
9/7/2014 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131437/Lot# 25019 $110.45
10/30/2014 NGC MS 62   Stack's Bowers November Baltimore 2014, 6039/Lot# 10234 $11,765.28
1/11/2015 PCGS AU 53   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 838, 847/Lot# 11 $240.00

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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