1856 Liberty Head double eagles are uncommon vessels from past times, when the Gold Rush was on and the nation had yet to be divided by the Civil War. More than 1.5 million double eagles were minted in 1856, but most have since been melted down, making them truly scarce across the board.
Old double eagles have appeal for coin collectors and bullion investors on various levels. For one, they’re large, heavy coins with a weight of 33.44 grams and a gold content of 0.9613 ounces, making them among the heaviest regularly circulating gold coins ever made in the United States. They are also commonly associated with the Gold Rush era. In fact, the first double eagle was struck in 1849 – the year things really heated up for gold panners in California.
Here’s a rundown of the various 1856 $20 gold coin issues:
1856, 329,878; $2,225
1856-O, 2,250; $275,000
1856-S, 1,189,750; $2,475
*Values are for coins in a grade of Extremely Fine 40.
The 1856-O is extraordinarily rare. The low mintage of 2,250 looks incredibly large as compared to the number of 1856-O $20 gold coins believed to exist today – a number that ranges between 10 and 20 pieces. Surely, on the rare occasion that one of the few 1856-O double eagle coins comes to auction, bidding is quite spirited.