The 1849 Liberty Head double eagle is the first issue that was struck for this denomination and series. While many first-year coins are widely available at coin dealers, the 1849 double eagle is unique. To see the only 1849 double eagle, you’ll have to travel to Washington, D.C., where this treasure sits in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection.
The $20 gold double eagle weighs 33.44 grams and is 90 percent gold, meaning it contain 0.9613 ounce of gold – just shy of a full ounce. The coin has a broad measurement of 34 millimeters in diameter, which makes this is one large, heavy gold coin. The large size and high gold content of this coin makes it a favorite among bullion investors. However, Liberty Head double eagles are also beloved by numismatists, who appreciate not only the coin’s gold content but also its historical significance.
While the 1849 Liberty Head gold double eagle is a truly unique $20 gold coin, most of the dates in the series are quite common from the coin collector standpoint and are available at most coin dealers where pre-1933 U.S. gold coins are sold. Be sure to only buy gold coins such as Liberty Head double eagles from reputable dealers. If you ever purchase gold coins sight-unseen, make sure you’re buying them as certified pieces from well-known third-party coin authentication firms such as the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), or the American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS).