Gold is considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and for centuries, people have been fascinated by the beauty and value of gold coins.
One coin that has captured the attention of collectors and investors alike is the $20 gold coin. The United States Mint produced this iconic coin in two different series: Liberty and Saint Gaudens, and it quickly became a popular choice for those looking to invest in gold.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the history and value of the $20 gold coin, examining the factors contributing to its worth and why it remains a sought-after item among collectors and investors.
20 Dollar Gold Coin Value Chart
|Type||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated (Mint State)|
|Liberty No Motto “TWENTY D.” 20 Dollar Gold Coin||$2,100 – $8,500||$2,425 – $40,000||$2,750 – $425,000||$4,750 – $8,500,000|
|Liberty With Motto “TWENTY D.” 20 Dollar Gold Coin||$2,325 – $2,335||$2,375 – $300,000||$2,375 – $900,000||$3,250 – $600,000|
|Liberty With Motto “TWENTY DOLLARS” 20 Dollar Gold Coin||$2,125 – $4,000||$2,175 – $30,000||$2,250 – $140,000||$2,500 – $300,000|
|Saint Gaudens High Relief 20 Dollar Gold Coin||$6,000 – $6,500||$8,500 – $9,000||$11,000 – $12,250||$18,750 – $750,000|
|Saint Gaudens No Motto 20 Dollar Gold Coin||$2,200||$2,200 – $2,210||$2,260 – $2,300||$2,450 – $330,000|
|Saint Gaudens With Motto 20 Dollar Gold Coin||$1,900- $1,925||$2,000 – $3,500||$2,150 – $61,000||$2,300 – $6,500,000|
Liberty No Motto “TWENTY D.” $20 Gold Coin Value
The Liberty 20 dollar gold coin was minted by the United States Mint from 1849 to 1907. This highly sought-after gold coin underwent several design changes during its mintage period, and each type has unique characteristics that make them highly collectible among numismatists.
The Liberty No Motto $20 gold coin was the first version of the $20 gold coin issued by the United States Mint. It was produced from 1849 to 1866 and is also known as the Type 1 Liberty $20 gold coin. This Liberty gold coin type has no motto inscribed and was minted at the Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco Mints.
The Liberty $20 gold coin, also known as the Double Eagle, has a rich and fascinating history that spans almost five decades. The coin was introduced during a period of change and upheaval in the United States, and it played an important role in the country’s economic growth and development.
The coin was minted at the height of the California Gold Rush. The discovery of gold in California had led to a flood of new prospectors and miners looking to strike it rich in the newly opened frontier. However, the vast amounts of mined gold posed a problem: how to convert it into a usable currency that the country could use in commerce.
To address this issue, Congress authorized the creation of a new gold coin, the Liberty $20 gold coin. James B. Longacre, the then chief engraver of the United States Mint, who was also responsible for designing several other U.S. coins, designed this coin, and quickly became one of the largest and most valuable coins in circulation.
Over the years, the U.S. Mint produced several variations of the Liberty $20 gold coin. The earliest versions were struck in a high-relief design, which made them difficult to stack and store. The year 1907 birthed a new design with a lower relief, which made the coins easier to handle.
The obverse of this coin features a left-facing portrait of Lady Liberty, the personification of freedom and democracy, wearing a coronet inscribed with the word “LIBERTY.” Lady Liberty is depicted with her braided hair which coils down her head. 13 stars are arranged in an arc, representing the original 13 colonies of the United States and surrounding her profile.
Below the portrait of Lady Liberty is the date of minting.
The reverse features the United States Great Seal, represented by an eagle with wings spread open and perched on a bundle of arrows and an olive branch. The eagle is positioned behind a shield with thirteen stars above it, representing the original thirteen colonies.
The phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” interpreted as “Out of many, one” is inscribed on both branches supporting the shield.
The reverse design also features the denomination “TWENTY D.” (an abbreviation for “Twenty Dollars”) at the bottom of the coin and the inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” above the eagle in an arc.
The edges of the Liberty No Motto $20 Gold Coin are reeded, meaning they have a series of vertical lines or grooves running around the coin’s circumference. The reedings on the coin are quite fine and delicate, with 153 reeds in total, adding to the coin’s overall elegance and beauty.
The Liberty $20 gold coin is made of 90% gold, alloyed with 10% copper for durability. The coin has a diameter of 34 mm and a weight of 33.436 grams (1.075 troy ounces). It has a current melt value of $1957.13 and an Actual Gold Weight (AGW) of 0.9675 ounces.
The value of a Liberty $20 gold coin depends on factors such as the year of issue, condition, rarity, and overall market demand. The current market price of gold is about $1900 per ounce, so a Liberty $20 gold coin contains approximately 0.9675 ounces of gold, making its gold content value around $1840.
However, some rare or high-grade specimens can be worth much more in dollars, from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands.
Liberty With Motto “TWENTY D.” 20 Dollar Gold Coin Value
In 1866, there was a modification to the reverse design of the Liberty $20 gold coin by including the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” within the circle of stars located above the eagle. The Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints made this addition to the coins, and production continued at these mints.
Subsequently, coins with the same design were also minted in Carson City starting in 1870, with the 1870-CC coin being a rare and highly sought-after piece among collectors.
In general, Liberty with Motto “TWENTY D.” $20 gold coins (Type 2 tend to be valued higher than their counterparts without the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” due to the added historical significance. For instance, A PCGS-graded F-12 1869-S liberty with the motto “TWENTY D.” $20 gold is valued at $2,375, while a higher-grade and rarer AU-55 coin is worth over $2,000,000
Liberty With Motto “TWENTY DOLLARS” 20 Dollar Gold Coin Value
In 1877, the $20 gold coin underwent a significant change in its denomination from “TWENTY D.” to “TWENTY DOLLARS”, creating a new type of coin. This change resulted in the production of updated inscription coins at the Philadelphia, Carson City, and San Francisco Mints. However, the New Orleans Mint only produced this type of coin in 1879, making it a rarity, and the final two years of production (1906-07) occurred at the Denver Mint.
A common-date Liberty with Motto “TWENTY DOLLARS” $20 gold coin in circulated condition may have a value ranging from around $2,100 to $2,500 or more, depending on its specific condition and other factors. However, some coins produced in years such as 1887 and 1879 are considered rare and worth well over $100,000 in good condition.
Saint Gaudens High Relief 20 Dollar Gold Coin Value
The Saint Gaudens 20 Dollar gold coin is widely considered one of the most beautiful coins in American numismatic history. It was minted in Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, with some years being rarer and more valuable than others. Like the Liberty $20 gold coin, the Saint Gaudens underwent some design modifications during its mintage period, resulting in different types of coin.
The Saint Gaudens High Relief $20 gold coin is considered a masterpiece of American coinage and a classic example of the artistry of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. One notable characteristic is the coin’s design which is raised above the surface of the coin, giving it a three-dimensional appearance.
The Saint-Gaudens $20 Gold Coin was designed by the renowned American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens, who President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned in 1905 to redesign the nation’s gold coins. The design initially featured a high-relief design on both the obverse and reverse.
However, due to technical difficulties in striking the high-relief coins, production changed to a lower-relief design in 1908. The lower relief coins were easier to strike but still retained much of the artistic beauty of the original high-relief design.
The Saint Gaudens $20 Gold Coin was intended for use in regular circulation, but due to its high face value, its primary usage was in large financial transactions and international trade. The coin was also used as an investment and store of value.
In 1933, during the Great Depression, the United States government enacted Executive Order 6102, which prohibited the hoarding of gold and required individuals to turn in their gold coins to the government. This led to the vast majority of Saint Gaudens’ $20 Gold Coins being melted down, with only a small number surviving.
The coin’s obverse design features Lady Liberty standing confidently with the rising sun behind her. She holds a torch in her right hand, representing enlightenment, and a branch of olives in her left, symbolizing peace. The Word “LIBERTY” is inscribed on the top of the coin in an arc, while the year of mintage is on the lower right, close to her raised foot.
The reverse design depicts a bald eagle in flight, its wings spread open and its talons outstretched. The eagle is set against a background of a rising sun, and the inscriptions “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “TWENTY DOLLARS” are prominently displayed above it at the coin’s top.
The lettered edge on the Saint Gaudens High Relief $20 Gold Coin features an inscription that reads “E PLURIBUS UNUM” repeated incuse (sunken) along the edge of the coin. The letters are typically capital letters and rise from the surface of the coin’s edge.
Produced at the Philadelphia Mint, the Saint Gaudens High Relief $20 gold coin had a total mintage of 12,367 coins. It weighs 33.44 grams and has a diameter of 34mm. Its AGW is 0.9675oz, and its current melt value is $1958.66.
The rarity and unique features of the Saint Gaudens High Relief $20 Gold Coin make it highly valuable. In good condition, this coin is worth from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For instance, A PCGS-graded AG-3 1907 High Relief $20 gold coin is currently worth $5,750, while an MS-69 coin is worth $750,000.
Saint Gaudens No Motto 20 Dollar Gold Coin Value
The No Motto version is distinguished by the absence of the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the coin and the 3D-like feature seen on the high-relief version. In addition, its design is much flatter than a low-relief coin, resulting in fewer difficulties during the striking process.
Similar to the high relief version, the No Motto $20 Gold Coin also features a lettered edge with the inscription “E PLURIBUS UNUM” repeated incuse along the edge.
In good condition, the Saint Gaudens No Motto $20 coin is a valuable piece with many varieties worth a few thousand dollars. However, an MS-68+ 1907 coin is currently valued at $300,000.
Saint Gaudens With Motto 20 Dollar Gold Coin Value
The Saint Gauden With Motto $20 Coin is the final coin type in this series and had the longest mintage period. It is distinguished by the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” inscribed in its reverse below the sun rays. These gold coins were minted in various locations, including Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco, and maintained the lettered-edge feature seen in the previous two.
The value of a Saint Gaudens With Motto $20 gold coin can vary greatly, with prices ranging from about $2,000 to over $60,000. Some varieties of this coin type, such as the MS-67+ 1927-D coin, are worth over a remarkable $6,000,000.
20 Dollar Gold Coin Grading
Grading a $20 gold coin is a process that involves evaluating its overall condition and assigning a grade based on a systemized scale. It typically uses a numerical scale called the Sheldon grading scale, which ranges from 1 to 70, where a score of 70 represents a flawless coin.
Rare 20 Dollar Gold Coin Errors List
In addition to the inherent historical and artistic value of gold coins, the potential for finding rare errors adds an extra layer of excitement and intrigue to the world of coin collecting. These errors can vary from subtle differences in the coin’s design to significant misprints on the obverse and reverse sides.
20 Dollar Coin Double Struck Error
A double struck error happens when a coin is struck by the minting press multiple times, resulting in overlapping images or designs on the same coin. A typical example of a $20 gold coin with this error is a 1904 Liberty with Motto “TWENTY DOLLARS” coin.
The double striking process produced a doubled design around the coin’s collar, increasing its value. This coin was later sold at auction for over $17,000,
20 Dollar Coin Off-Center Error
The $20 coin with an off-center error is a unique and intriguing numismatic find. This particular coin exhibits a misalignment in its striking process, resulting in an off-center design. An example is a 1904 Liberty $20 Gold Coin with a 15 percent off-center error on its obverse.
This exceptional piece is undoubtedly the most off-center Double Eagle coin known to exist, making it an exceedingly rare find. It is valued at an astounding $250,000.
20 Dollar Gold Coin FAQs
How can you tell if a $20 gold coin is real?
You can begin by inspecting its physical characteristics, such as weight, diameter, thickness, and overall appearance, and compare them to known specifications. Also, Check for mint marks that match the expected mint for the specific coin. Another step is to conduct a metal composition analysis to verify the coin’s metal composition.
Finally, it’s best to seek professional authentication from reputable coin grading services.
What is the most valuable $20 gold coin?
Asides from the 1849 Liberty $20 gold coin displayed at the Smithsonian, the 1933 Double Eagle holds a special status as it was never officially released for circulation due to the Gold Reserve Act of 1933, making it exceptionally rare and valuable. In 2002, one specimen sold at auction for over $7.5 million, setting a record as the most expensive gold coin ever sold.
Other highly valuable $20 gold coins include the 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, the 1854-O Double Eagle, and the 1927-D Double Eagle.
Should I Invest in a $20 Gold Coin?
Gold coins, like other precious metals, can be subject to price volatility and fluctuations in the market. Additionally, factors such as the coin’s condition, rarity, and historical significance can also affect its value and potential return on investment.
Therefore, before investing in a $20 gold coin, it’s important to conduct thorough research, educate yourself about the market and associated risks, and seek professional advice from a qualified financial advisor or investment professional.