It's a tale with a tragic beginning, but if you have your tissues to hand and you're sitting comfortably, we'll begin. First, we need to travel back to the early 1800s and a farm in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Young James B. Longacre has just lost his mother, his father has swiftly remarried and James no longer feels welcome in his childhood home; he's just 12 years old. So, brave James sets out for Philadelphia and an apprenticeship with bookseller James F Watson, here he finds a nurturing environment, a welcoming home and a career.
As time goes on it becomes apparent that James is artistic. With Watson's blessing he takes up an alternative apprenticeship with engraver George Murray - a decision which sets him on a course to the top of his profession, eventually. For James is to become a respected engraver, designer and portraitist. After training long and hard, James sets up his own engraving business in 1819, taking on a range of illustration work for biographies, encyclopedias, plus bank note engravings. During this time, James completes portraits of many eminent figures. However, James's course is not always smooth, his firm is not a financial success and eventually he declares himself bankrupt. You might think he has reached rock bottom, but no one has ever doubted the quality of James's engraving work.
A meeting with one of his subjects, Senator John C. Calhoun, sets James's career off in a new direction, cementing his reputation. For the Senator recommends him for the post of Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint in September 1844. James joins the Mint at a difficult time, but he survives a tumultuous period characterized by factions and infighting, to forge a career that is to last over 25 years. In fact, Longacre dies suddenly while still in office, in January 1869. His tale is certainly one of triumph over adversity. His legacy? Some of today's most sought after coins, like the $20 Liberty Gold Double Eagle. So corral this example with a mint state of 61 into your collection, for a pre-1933 gold coin of distinction.
The Liberty Head Double Eagle or Coronet Double Eagle was first produced in a proof form in 1849, then available for trade from 1850 to 1907. An enduring coin indeed. The obverse design depicts a left-facing profile portrait of Liberty wearing a beaded coronet inscribed with the word "LIBERTY," below which is the issue year. Your order will be fulfilled with a random year depending on availability at the time of your order, but you can be assured it will be in MS61 condition. The Liberty portrait is surrounded by 13 stars denoting the original colonies of the Union.
The reverse side is dominated by an eagle with wings outstretched, in front of which is a union shield. The eagle holds arrows and an olive branch, symbolizing that America is a peaceable nation, but one willing to defend itself. A banner flutters on either side of the eagle inscribed with the phrase "E. PLURIBUS UNUM," meaning "out of many, one." The country of issue the "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" curves around the top of the design, while the motto "In GOD WE TRUST" is surrounded by stars in an oval formation, behind which are the rays of the sun.
On coins struck during the third phase of the coin's production, between 1877 and 1907, the lettering has been changed from "TWENTY D" to "TWENTY DOLLARS." While on the obverse side, the truncation of the neck has been altered to make more room for the year of issue - small but telling details. As your coin will be from a random year, it may be from any phase of the coin's production, but you can be confident of its mint state condition.
The $20 Liberty Gold Double Eagle is a substantial coin of 33.4400 grams or 0.9675 of a troy ounce. It was struck with .9000 fine gold and measures 34 millimeter in diameter, so it's a steadfast investment, as well as a historic coin.
Secure a $20 Liberty Gold Double Eagle MS61 for your collection to appreciate the work of a master engraver.
• Classic Liberty head design • Designer: James B. Longacre • U.S. Mint • Radom year of issue • Mint state of 61 • 90% gold, 10% copper