Even being opposed by Chief Coiner Peale and Mint Director Patterson, Chief Designer Longacre produced a double eagle pattern
and die trials in 1849, none of which were deemed satisfactory. Classified as proofs or patterns, one or two 1849 Double Eagles
were produced. One specimen is on display in the Smithsonian Institute, the second has never surfaced, and perhaps never will.
Liberty on the obverse is said to be modeled after a Greek sculpture, the "Crouching Venus". The reverse displays
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at 12 o'clock and the denomination TWENTY D. is at the 6 o'clock. Without a Motto Liberty Head
double eagles are considered common, and though prices for the lower grades reflect the amount of gold contained in this
large coin they advance steeply as low Mint State or finer coins.
In 1866 the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse of the double eagle, this resulted in two designs for
1866: TWENTY D. without a motto is referred to as the Type 1 double eagle those with TWENTY D. and a motto is referred to
as Type 2.
Additional changes included the oval of stars above the eagle on the reverse was expanded to accommodate the motto,
modification of the reverse shield, ribbons, and rays, and the lengthening of the eagle's tail feathers.
The Type 3 series of double eagles coincided with turbulent political and economic times in this country. In 1878 the
Type 3 Double Eagles circulated at the same value as $20 paper money issues, earlier they had traded at a premium. Even so,
they did not widely circulate because people had become used to using paper money.
O-Mint issues command higher premiums for nearly all dates, but the 1854-O and 1856-O are extremely expensive.
Other coins with premium prices include:
1854 Large Date
1861-S Paquet modified reverse variety
1861 Paquet reverse (only two specimens known)
CC-Mint, particularly 1870 through 1873 (extremely expensive)
Coins recovered from several shipwrecks, including the Republic, Central America, and Brother Jonathan have added to the Mint
State populations, but often carry a modest premium because of the history associated with those pieces.
Liberty Head Double eagle Specs.
Designer: James Barton Longacre Content: 90% gold 10% other Diameter: 34 millimeters Edge: Reeded Weight: 33.4 grams Mint Mark Location: Below the eagle on the reverse
Whenever the subject of beautiful coins comes up, one of the first and most frequent coin mentioned is certain to be the
Saint-Gaudens double eagle, or twenty-dollar gold piece. Many believe United States coinage had never been more beautiful than
it was in the early years of the 20th century.
The Saint-Gaudens double eagle is stunning coin, resulting from a bazaar relationship between Augustus Saint-Gaudens and
President Theodore Roosevelt. Saint-Gaudens was the best known American sculptor at the turn of the 20th century and was admired
After Roosevelt personally prevailed upon Saint-Gaudens in 1905 to design his official inaugural medal, The metal proved to be
exceptionally beautiful. At a Washington dinner party some time later, they discovered they both had a mutual admiration for the
high- relief coins of ancient Greece. President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned the artist to create a series of U.S. coin designs
based on those classic Greek models.
The Wire Rim protruded around the outer extremity of the coins, caused by metal flow between the die face and collar during
the striking process. Unlike today's collectors who consider the Wire Rim to be highly collectible, Mint officials considered it
to be a striking deficiency. This flaw was corrected by mid-December, and later High Relief double eagles had a Flat Rim.
The first production pieces were made with high relief. But after striking just 12,367, Mint officials substituted new dies with
the modified, lower relief, and these remained in use through the end of the series. As if to underscore the shift from the
classical to the commercial, the Mint used Arabic numbers in dating all reduced-relief double eagles.
The reason the date was changed to Arabic numerals instead of the original Roman numerals was to comply with
the Act of March 3, 1865. Regardless of the reasons for the omission, in 1908 Congress required that the motto be restored
(as on the Liberty Head Double Eagle). The change would bring the double eagle into compliance with the Act of March 3, 1865.
The last significant change of the double eagle was adding the Motto at the 6 O'clock, position in another arc. In 1912 the
number of stars was increased from 46 to 48, marking the addition of New Mexico and Arizona. Most double eagles minted after
1928 were stored by the Treasury and not released into circulation.
The 1907-1908 double eagles do not have the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. This became an issue even though the Coinage Act of 1890
did not include it as part of the required wording which was to be placed on all U.S. coins. E PLURIBUS UNUM in raised
letters, with thirteen separating raised stars, is on the edge of the coin.
Double Eagles without Motto were minted in Philadelphia and Denver. Thousands of "Without Motto Saint-Gaudens" business
strikes have been certified, most of them are 1908 Philadelphia issue. Prices are modest for pieces through MS62, often trading
not much above bullion value, but prices increase above the MS62 grade.
Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Specs.
Type 1 Without Motto (1907-1908)
Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (modified by Charles E. Barber) Diameter: 34 millimeters Content: 90% gold 10% other Weight: 33.4 grams Edge: Lettered |******E|*PLURIBUS*|UNUM***** Mint Mark Location: Above the date on the obverse
Type 2 With Motto (1908-1933)
Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens, modified late in 1907 by Charles E. Barber