More than 2.8 million 1897 Liberty Head double eagles were struck, making for a significant sum for 19th-century standards as they apply to $20 gold coins. The Liberty Head double eagle was designed by Chief Engraver of the United States Mint James B. Longacre in 1849, and in 1897 was struck by the Philadelphia and San Francisco mints. Slightly more than half of that year’s output came from the San Francisco mint, which was located in a region of the United States where gold coinage tended to circulate the most.
Here is a breakdown of the mintages and values of 1897 double eagle gold coins:
1897, 1,383,175; $1,500
1897-S, 1,470,250; $1,500
1897 proof, 86; $200,000
*Values are for coins in a grade of Extremely Fine 40 unless otherwise specified.
While mintage figures may look quite decent for the Philadelphia and San Francisco business strike double eagles of 1897, keep in mind that relatively few pieces survive today. This is actually the case for virtually all pre-1933 U.S. gold coins. It therefore is prudent buy 1897 double eagle gold coins that have been certified by reputable third-party coin authentication firms. These include the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), and the American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS).