1874 Liberty Head double eagles are relatively common as more than 1.6 million were made, and a good many examples of that date survive to this day. Most of the 1874 output came from the San Francisco mint, with smaller numbers of $20 gold coins being struck at the Philadelphia and San Francisco minting facilities. Gold coins were mainly used in the West, though they did see some circulation in the cities along the eastern seaboard. Bear in mind, however, that $20 was a lot of money in the 1870s, and as such double eagles were mainly used during large transactions, most often banking related.
Here is a breakdown of the mintages and values of 1874 double eagle gold coins:
1874, 365,780; $1,980
1874-CC, 115,085; $4,250
1874-S, 1,214,000; $1,950
1874 proof, 20; $280,000
*Values are for coins in a grade of Extremely Fine 40 unless otherwise specified.
1874 $20 double eagle gold coins weigh 33.44 grams and contain 0.9613 ounces of gold. They’re also 34 millimeters wide, which places their diameter about halfway between the widths of a modern-day half dollar and silver dollar. Good advice when buying any pre-1933 gold coins is to purchase only pieces in certified slabs from reputable third-party coin grading firms. That’s because there are many forgeries on the market, and coins in slabs from authentication firms such as the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or the American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS) can help protect your pocketbook and provide peace of mind.