History, Information, and Value of 1854-S Gold Liberty Double Eagle
Value of 1854-S $20 Gold Coin
The 1854-S $20 double eagle was the first Liberty Head double eagle minted in San Francisco. In October 1854, the Independent Steamship Companys S.S. Yankee Blade was shipwrecked off the California coast after getting caught on a submerged reef in thick fog. The vast majority of passengers and crew made it to safety, but the ship sank with valuables, including a brass cannon and $152,000 in specie, including 1854-S double eagles, to its watery grave. More than a century later, in 1977, salvage divers discovered artifacts from the S.S. Yankee Blade, including 200 to 250 specimens of 1854-S gold $20 coins. With an estimated 300 to 500 examples remaining in circulated condition, the 1854-S $20 is scarce but attainable with some persistence. There exists a moderate population of 200 to 300 Mint State coins as noted, the majority of which come from the wrecks of the SS Yankee Blade and, to a lesser extent, the SS Central America. However, many of these Uncirculated pieces from the Yankee Blade are marred by saltwater exposure, and locating an example with wholesome, original surfaces presents a true challenge to collectors.