American double eagle gold coins are some of the most sought after collector’s pieces in American coin history. Double eagles have a face value of $20, and were minted for general circulation for more than 80 years.
As a result of the California gold strikes, the American government decided to issue a $20 gold piece in 1849. Paper currency was not yet being printed.
The first double eagle ever minted was the Liberty Head design in 1849. The obverse of the coin featured the head of Lady Liberty and the reverse featured an eagle and a shield.
Variations of the Liberty Head
In 1866, the motto In “God We Trust” was added to the back of the Liberty Head double eagle. In 1877, the words “twenty dollars” was added to the reverse of the coin.
Liberty Standing Double Eagles
In 1907, the Liberty Head design was replaced by the Liberty Standing design. This coin is often called the St. Gaudens double eagle after its designer.
The final meant-for-circulation double eagle coin was minted in 1933. However, the 1933 coin never reached circulation due to gold recall legislation.
Gold Bullion Coins
The Standing Liberty design was reintroduced on collector’s gold bullion coins starting in 1986. However, none of these coins are technically double eagles.
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