No Better Time for Better Date Libs
By Brian Zweig
The $20 Liberty Double Eagle is one of America’s most beloved gold coins. This big, beautiful coin owes its popularity to three main factors:
The Double Eagle traces its roots directly to the California Gold Rush. Prior to 1849, America’s largest gold coin was the $10 Eagle. However, due to the influx of Western gold, the U.S. Mint introduced the hefty Double Eagle.
Collectors enjoy the coin’s classic and highly attractive appearance. The $20 “Lib” was engraved by James B. Longacre, whose motifs adorned many of America’s most celebrated 19th century coinage designs (including the iconic Indian Cent, 2 cent piece, Shield nickel, and others).
With a pure gold content of 0.9675 ounces, $20 Liberties have an impressive precious metal weight. As such they are more than just collectible/numismatic pieces; they can serve as bullion investments too.
Today, we’re excited to offer a great way to own this celebrated American gold coin. For the first time in over five years, we’ve located a cache of better-date MS62 pieces at surprisingly reasonable premiums. Specifically, you can pick up a variety of dates that are 5 to 20 times rarer than the most common dates – at just a touch over the “generic” price.
Suffice to say, the California Gold Rush was a pivotal event in U.S. history. It shifted America’s attention westward, resulted in California becoming a state, spurred the construction of transcontinental railroads, and had a profound impact on the nation’s economy. The Gold Rush’s influence can also be seen in numismatics. Indeed, the $20 Liberty Double Eagle was created specifically to help convert California gold into coinage.
From the beginning of the California Gold Rush, the question was, “What should be done with all the newly discovered gold?” Miners needed a way to convert their findings into cash and merchants needed a trustworthy, uniform currency. Initially, private assayers, refineries and mints filled this void. Independent firms would take in raw gold from miners, determine the weight and purity and then pay out the market value in cash. These companies would also issue coins and ingots that merchants could use in everyday trade.
While these private outfits were mostly reliable and accurate, the average citizen preferred government-issued coins. Congress acted quickly and authorized the $20 gold piece in March 1849. Up until this point, the largest coin denomination was the $10 Eagle, which was made in sporadic quantities in the 1840's. Realizing the colossal volume of gold being extracted and entering everyday commerce, it was decided to start making a $20 Double Eagle.
Just one Double Eagle was made in 1849; it was struck in proof and retained by the United States government. Today, that coin is on display at the Smithsonian Museum. Many numismatists value it at 5 to 10 million dollars, if not more!
Double Eagle production did not begin in earnest until 1850, when the Philadelphia and New Orleans mints began striking the $20 coin for circulation. While these two facilities struck a decent chunk of Double Eagles, they couldn’t handle the overwhelming amount of gold on the market. Furthermore, transporting the gold from California was time-consuming and treacherous.
Finally, in 1852, President Millard Fillmore recommended that a branch mint be established in San Francisco. This move was not without precedent; after gold was discovered in North Carolina and Georgia, branch mints were opened there too. This time, however, the sheer volume of gold to be converted into gold coins was much greater.
As the 19th century continued, California gold production began to decline. The ‘low hanging fruit’ of the Gold Rush had already been picked, and miners required more sophisticated methods to extract metal from the earth. Gone were the days of individual 49ers panning for gold. Miners were forced to use more advanced methods like hydraulic jets and dredging. Furthermore, the 1859 discovery of silver in Nevada drew many of the individual prospectors away from California.
Despite the limited amount of gold extraction, the U.S. Mint continued to strike $20 Liberties. However, mintage levels changed tremendously year to year depending on local demand for coins and the volume of gold deposits. Double Eagles were struck virtually every year, but production levels were extremely sporadic. For example, in 1880, the Philadelphia Mint produced 51,420 Double Eagles for circulation. The following year, the mintage dropped all the way to 2,199! Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a whopping 727,000 pieces were struck.
The bottom line is that mintages varied enormously from year to year and mint to mint. This phenomenon has actually created an opportunity for astute numismatists; many of these “sleeper” dates are significantly rarer yet get overlooked by collectors. That’s why we were excited about the group of MS62 $20 Liberties we acquired; this batch contained numerous dates with tiny populations – but currently sell for modest premiums.
Rarity and Valuation
Before we address rarity by date, we’d like to share how MS62 $20 Liberties have performed in the past. While premiums have seen many peaks and valleys, they’ve typically commanded premiums of $500-$1000 per coin over melt. This has been especially true during periods of heightened volatility, like in 2013. When gold has spiked or dropped dramatically, premiums have expanded substantially.
Although gold has been on the rise in recent weeks, MS62 $20 Liberties are still trading relatively close to their melt value. The most common dates are fetching a 15-20% premium over their metallic content – a far cry from their peaks of 50-100% over spot! Looking back over the past two decades, today’s pricing represents the lowest premium on record.
To maximize upside, however, we recommend certain scarcer-date coins from the 1890s and early 1900s. Unbeknownst to many collectors (and dealers for that matter!) there are rare dates lurking in the series that trade for small premiums. Just a dozen or so fall into this category, but they are 5 to 20 times rarer than the generic 1904 Philadelphia. One would think that these coins would fetch double or triple the price of a common date, yet they can be had for just 10-20% more.
We were thrilled to locate around 100 of these “sleeper” dates – and we think you’ll be equally thrilled to add them to your holdings. Certified better-date $20 Liberties in MS62, graded by PCGS or NGC, are a great value for investors looking to add to their collection at an attractive price point. Specifically, here’s what we can offer you today in terms of date selection and price:
- Just $1,919 per coin!*
We’ll select a date that’s at least 5 times rarer than the generic 1904 Philadelphia, as evidenced by PCGS/NGC population reports. As of today, that’s around a 25% premium over melt for a truly scarce coin with clear numismatic value!
- Buy three for $1,899 per coin with free shipping!
Like before, we’ll select coins that are at least 5 times rarer than the generic 1904 Philadelphia.
Plus, we’ll pick three different dates with at least one Philadelphia and San Francisco issue.
- Buy five for $1,879 per coin with free shipping!
For this mini-collection, we’ll ship five different dates including at least one San Fran and Philly issue.
Not only will all coins be at least 5 times rarer than the generic date, but we’ll include at least one piece that’s a whopping 20 times rarer!
- BEST VALUE: Buy ten for $1,849 per coin with free shipping!
For this master collection, we’ll pick ten different dates including at least one San Fran and Philly issue.
Once again, all coins will be at least 5 times rarer than the generic date, plus we’ll include at least one specimen that’s a full 20 times rarer!
In summary, these better date $20 Liberties offer investors multiple ways to win. Not only would they benefit from a jump in gold spot prices, but they could very well appreciate in numismatic value too. All MS62 $20 “Libs” are trading below their historical norms, but these better dates are poised to gain in collector value. You’re not just getting in at attractive price levels; this offer provides you with rare dates that are a true challenge to find!
Take advantage of today’s opportunity to acquire an instant mini-collection at surprisingly affordable premiums.
*Prices subject to change based on market fluctuation and product availability. Prices reflected are for cash, check, or bank wire. Free shipping, handling, and insurance are available for all quantities ordered. Offer expires Friday, February 7th, 2020, or while supplies last.