The obverse has Liberty facing left, surrounded by 13 stars, with her hair flowing to her shoulder. Her coronet (crown) has LIBERTY in relief, and the date is at the bottom. The image for the portrait is a modification of a Greco-Roman statue which was much admired by designer James Longacre. The reverse depicts an eagle, wings spread, with a Union shield superimposed on its chest. In its right claw the eagle holds an olive branch, and arrows are held in its left claw. Above the eagle’s head are an oval of 13 stars and a pattern of rays. The denomination is at the bottom expressed as TWENTY D. . The double scrolls flanking the shield are Longacre’s reference to the double eagle denomination. The scroll on the left has E PLURIBUS in relief, and the scroll on the right has UNUM, also in relief.
Type 1 Liberty Head Double Eagles were struck each year from 1850 to 1866, and the series is replete with rarities. All Mint-state examples are at least scarce, with most rare, and more than a few very rare. The branch Mint issues are particularly rare, with New Orleans issues being among the rarest for the series.
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