The Arlington Collection Image Gallery

Complete Set of Gold $20 Type 1 Double Eagles

About the Coin

The 1854-P $20 double eagle has two varieties that are generally collected (if they list it in the Red Book, it gets collected). The two varieties are the Small Date and the Large Date.

The image below shows a Small Date variety directly above a Large Date variety so that you can see the difference between the two varieties.

Click on image to enlarge

Originally not much attention was paid to these two varieties and the grading services did not designate the variety on their holders. This example from The Arlington Collection is in an NGC holder that does not acknowledge that it is a Large Date variety.

As the Large Date variety became better known as the rarer of the two, a premium developed for it and the third party grading services started designating the variety on their holders. It was estimated that the Large Date made up about 10% of the overall mintage for the date but since many were in undesignated holders, no one could be sure. As the premium grew larger, more Large Dates began to surface and the premium started to come down as the Large Date is now believed to be much more common than initially thought.

When the coins for the S.S. Republic came on the market, I acquired an 1854 double eagle that was designated as a Large Date on the holder and cost a significant premium over a similar Small Date variety. But the old adage "buyer beware" was certainly true here as the coin turned out to not be as advertised. A mistake by NGC and then overlooked by a well known and respected dealer almost cost me big. Read my story about how Mislabeled Certified Coins Could Cost You Thousands of Dollars.

Designer: James B. Longacre
Weight: 33.436 grams
Diameter: approx. 34mm, reeded edge
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper/silver

1854 Gold $20 Double Eagle

Large Date

Total Mintage: Unknown (part of 757,899)
Overall Rarity Ranking: 10 of 44 coins
Overall Population: approx. 139 to 185 coins

1854 Gold $20 Double Eagle Large Date Obverse
1854 Gold $20 Double Eagle Large Date Reverse

The Arlington Collection of Double Eagles