1851-O GOLD $20 LIBERTY
SSCA-2 AU50The Liberty Head Double Eagle is also known as the Coronet Double Eagle. This was the largest denomination coin that was first minted as a pattern coin in 1849. It was minted for commerce from 1850-1907. In 1849, the immense discoveries of gold in California that inspired the minting of the large $20 double eagle gold pieces. The $20 gold coin was born when there was a great influx of California gold combined with the need for a larger denomination gold coin. The Double Eagle was more of a Bankers Coin, intended to simplify transfers of large sums between financial institutions, and between nations... which had significant mintages.
The Double Eagle was designed by James B. Longacre, and the obverse bears the bust of Liberty facing left, amid a circle of 13 stars. Liberty wears a tiara or coronet, inscribed with her name ''Liberty.'' Longacre opted to sign this work, which is the first instance of an engraver doing so, on an officially minted U.S. coin... At the truncation of Liberty's bust at the neck, is the initials ''J.B.L.'' on the double eagle, with the date beneath Liberty's bust.
The reverse of the double eagle features a bold expression of mid-19th century patriotic emblems? A facing American eagle with a large Union shield across its breast, clutching an olive branch in its right claw, and three arrows in its left claw. Flanking the eagle on either side are scepters and two scrolls, inscribed ''E. Pluribus Unum'' . . .above the bird is a glory of rays and an elliptical constellation of 13 stars. The Inscription, ''United States of America'' is in an arch around the periphery of the coin, and the value is abbreviated below the eagle as ''Twenty D.''