Gold Rush Origin Of The Double Eagle

The Double Eagle is a twenty dollar gold piece that was produced in United States mints between 1849 and 1933. The origin of the Double Eagle can be traced back to the discovery of gold in California in 1848. This was the beginning of the Gold rush that resulted in the mining of indescribable amounts of gold.

In order to deal with all the bullion that was arriving at the mints across the country, the Coinage Act was approved on March 3, 1849. This Act authorized the production of the Double Eagle, so called because it was worth twice the ten dollar Eagle that had been in circulation since 1792. Although the lesser denomination had seemed adequate until that time, it was decided that a coin of larger value was necessary to process all the gold efficiently.

The chief engraver, James B. Longacre, designed the first coin with the head of Liberty on the obverse and the heraldic eagle on the reverse. Other than the addition of the motto and spelling out the denomination, this basic design lasted into the 20th century. In 1907, the St. Gaudens design was deemed of greater artistic merit. With a few changes, this was the Double Eagle that lasted until production was discontinued in 1933.

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