Designed by James B Longacre, the $20 Liberty Head Double Eagle was produced from 1849 to 1907 with each coin containing just under a full ounce of gold. Coinage was authorized by the Act of March 3, 1849 and only one issue (a pattern) was made that year. That one 1849 specimen is held within the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
The example on offer today is dated between 1850 and 1907. The obverse design features an idealised bust image of Liberty facing left wearing a coronet with “LIBERTY” inscribed. Above the bust design are 13 stars to represent the original states or colonies.
The reverse features an eagle with outstretched wings in the centre, clutching three arrows in the left claw and a small olive branch in the right, with a shield placed across its breast. Above the eagle is the famous motto “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
In the background of the design are rays while on the outer periphery is the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and just below the eagle design is the denomination “TWENTY DOLLARS.” A mint mark for New Orleans (O), San Francisco (S), Carson City (CC), or Denver (D) is located below the design and just above the denomination. Coins minted at the Philadelphia Mint carried no mint marks.