History of The First U.S. $20 Gold Coin

History of The First U.S. $20 Gold Coin

This gold coin is the only known example of its kind and is among the rarest of coins in United States history.

1849 U.S. $20 Gold Coin

1849 U.S. $20 Gold Coin

The United States $20 gold coin probably wouldn’t have ever been developed had it not been for the discovery of gold in large quantities in California. In 1848, gold began to be mined in California, and that discovery led to the mass migration to the west that we call the California Gold Rush.

At that time, there was a steady flow of gold and much of it was being shipped across the country. In an effort to keep up with demand, the United States Mint decided to increase the amount of the coins that they were making which also included the striking of $20 gold coins.

Reverse - 1849 U.S. $20 Gold Coin

Reverse – 1849 U.S. $20 Gold Coin

Created by Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre, this $20 gold coin is one of two trial patterns struck on March 12, 1850, even though it bears the date 1849.

The second pattern has never been found.

Imagine flipping the plug over, and pulling one of ‘Second Pattern’ $20 gold pieces from the hole! Who knows how much that one might be worth! It’s out there somewhere, waiting to be found by you…

So what are you waiting for? Grab your metal detector and get out of here!

Final Thoughts

Minted on March 12,1850, this coin inaugurated the series of gold 20 dollar coins, nicknamed ‘double eagles,’ which were issued from 1850 to 1907. The term ‘double eagle’ is derived from the fact that the $10 coin is called an ‘eagle’. This one now resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. In 1850 this coin had the purchasing power of $1200 today.

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Photo Credits

http://americanhistory.si.edu/

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