Double Eagle Coin - Liberty Head & Saint-Gaudens
The Double Eagle Coin Series is composed
of $20 gold coins bearing the image of an eagle on the reverse. Although
the name says double eagle, there’s only one eagle in the design and it
only has one head. So it is not to be confused with double-headed eagle
in a lot of symbols or coat of arms, which are also found on some coins.
The coin was named double eagle to distinguish it from the $10 coin,
which is identified an “eagle”. And since $20 is double the value of the
$10 coin, it was appropriately called “double eagle”. This addition to
U.S. gold coins was afforded partly due to the gold discovery in 1848,
or better known as the California Gold Rush.
There are two main designs of the Double
Eagle Coins, the Liberty Head and the Saint Gaudens designs. The Liberty
Head or Liberty Coronet design features the bust of the goddess Liberty
on the obverse side with the 13 stars, representing the 13 original U.S.
colonies, around the upper half of the coin’s edge. The reverse side of
the Liberty Coronet design bears the image of an eagle with its wings
spread widely. On the eagle’s chest is a striped protective shield.
Above its head are the 13 stars forming a circle like a crown. The upper
half of the coin’s edge is inscribed with the words United States of
America while the lower half is the denomination of the coin, both of
which are in capital letters. Mintage of the Liberty Head coins were
began in 1849 and lasted until 1907.
The Saint Gaudens design on the other
hand, is a standing image of goddess Liberty holding an olive branch on
her left hand and a torch on her right, while her left foot is resting
on a rock. The goddess’ back is illuminated by golden rays of the sun
and her hair seems to be being blown by the wind. The edge of the coin
is lined with small stars.
On the coin’s reverse is an eagle in
flight with the sun’s rays again on the background. Inscribed on the
upper half of the edge are the words United States
of America and right underneath it are the
words Twenty Dollar. This design, which is said to be the most intricate
and most beautiful of all U.S. coin designs, was designed by the famous
sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and so, was named after him. The only
downside of this design is that the high-relief proofs required a longer
striking process due to its intricacy. Because of this, only a few coins
were struck in very high-relief dies. Lower-relief dies were used for
the mass production of the coin. Mintage of this design started in 1907
and continued until 1933.