The US mint reported a significant decline in the sales of gold eagle coins in the month of April 2012 which are quite different form the old Twenty Dollar Gold Coins . According to US mint data only 20,000 ounces of Gold Eagle coins were sold in April 2012, down 81% from 108,000 ounces sold during April 2011. Gold Eagle sales are down 43% during Jan-April 2012 compared to the same period last year. Gold has remained an attractive investment for several centuries with investors continuing to view it as one of the safest ways to enhance their earnings. While investors can invest in gold through various ways, gold coins and especially the twenty dollar gold coins seem to be a popular investment option among investors. The US mint had produced two varieties of twenty dollar gold coins (also known as Double Eagles) – the Liberty Heads and the Saint Gaudens. These gold coins are considered to be highly valuable because of their historic significance and limited availability.
Twenty Dollar Gold Coins: History
These twenty dollar gold coins or Double Eagles were minted from the year 1849 to 1933 and are highly demanded because of their strong association with history. The rarity factor also works in favor of these coins. The Roosevelt government had put a halt on the minting of these coins in 1933 and ordered the melting of all existing coins, which really boosts up the coins’ rarity quotient. The coins available in the market today are the ones that escaped this melting order. These coins are widely collected and demanded by numismatists and coin collectors.
Types of Twenty Dollar Gold Coins
The two most popular types of twenty dollar gold coins are the $20 Liberty coins and the St Gaudens. These coins served as money in the US until 1933. Let us take a closer look at these two coins.
$20 Liberty Head: The first type of twenty dollar gold coin produced by the mint was called the $20 Liberty head double eagle. This variety of coins was first created in 1850 as part of the Liberty Head series of coins. The obverse of this coin features the picture of Lady Liberty while the reverse side depicts an eagle. Containing 0.9675 ounces of pure gold, these coins were produced in three different designs over a period of sixty years. The first twenty dollar Liberty Head gold coin was minted in 1849 and coincided with the California Gold Rush. Of the two proof pieces minted during that year, one resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and the second one was presented to the Treasury Secretary William M. Meredith. However, the present location of the second proof remains unknown due to the sale of Meredith’s estate.
These twenty dollar Liberty gold coins are available in three versions and were produced till the year 1907 when it was redesigned. Three types of these coins were minted between 1849 and 1907:
• The first type was produced between 1849 and1866. It was inscribed with the words Twenty D and had no motto on it.
• The second type was produced between 1866 and 1877 and had the motto “In God We Trust” inscribed on it.
• A third variety was introduced in the year 1877 wherein the inscription on the reverse was changed from “Twenty D” to “Twenty Dollars.”
$20 Saint Gaudens: The second variety of twenty dollar gold coin is the Saint Gauden type and refers to coins depicting the design of Augustus St. Gauden. A premier sculptor, Saint Gaudens was asked by President Roosevelt to redesign the country’s coinage.
Again three versions of this coin were minted. The first was the high relief version with no motto on it. This extraordinary piece of art with date featured in Roman numerals was manufactured only in the year 1907 and was eventually replaced by the low relief version due to difficulties in minting high relief versions. Only 12,367 high relief coins were struck by the US mint. The next version of Saint Gaudens was minted during the years 1907 and 1908 with the date being inscribed in the more convenient Arabic numerals format. However, these versions also did not include the motto. The third version depicts the motto “In God We Trust,” after the US Congress voted in favor of it of Saint Gaudens twenty dollar gold coins.