20 Dollar Coin, United States, 1851

With the onset of the California Gold Rush, a new coin denomination was authorized - a twenty-dollar gold piece called a double eagle. It depicted the head of Liberty wearing a coronet, surrounded by stars, for the obverse. The reverse bore a heraldic eagle, similar to the Great Seal of the United States.
Mintage: 2,087,155
With gold rushing in from California, the production of double eagles soared to a level that would not be exceeded until 1861. A large number of coins were produced, but the vast majority of 1851 double eagles did not survive. Of the coins seen today, most are heavily worn. Examples were found on the S.S. Central America and the S.S. Republic, nearly all of which were circulated. High-grade 1851 double eagles are very rare, with only two dozen coins known in choice condition. The highest-grade 1851 double eagle certified to date has been MS-64
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
United States Mint
Longacre, James Barton
U.S. Mint. Philadelphia
Physical Description
gold (overall metal)
0 (overall die axis)
0 (overall die axis measurement)
struck (overall production method)
overall: 34 mm; 1 11/32 in
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
United States
place of issue
United States
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Armed Forces History: National Numismatic Collection
United States Double Eagle
Coins, Currency and Medals
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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