From our perspective the 1855-O $20 remains one of the most vastly underappreciated dates of the series. Sandwiched right between the important 1854-O and 1856-O issues which in same condition (AU55) are valued at more than $600,000 each.

When analyzing census reports for the 1855-O and comparing to both the 1854-O and 1856-O it is easy to conclude the 55-O represents a good value play in today’s marketplace. In the AU55 grade the census for both PCGS and NGC is:

1854-O, 6 in AU55 and 5 finer

1855-O, 17 in AU55 and 11 finer

1856-O, 7 in AU55 and 5 finer.

It should be noted the census for all three dates listed above are overstated with multiple submissions of each to both grading services. Any experienced expert within the series of Type I double eagles is keenly aware of how difficult it is locating an example in AU55 or better for any of these early rare and popular “O” mint specimens.

Auction appearances are rare and when they are seen, bidding is enthusiastic to say the least. Notable auction records for an AU55 is the auction high in 2014 when an example sold for $67,652. The highest price realized for the date was a MS61, also in 2014 selling for $141,000.

With the strength of the market over the past 18 months it has been increasingly difficult for online price guides to keep up with accurate pricing, especially of seldom seen coins. Currently all three leading price guides lists 1855-O double eagles in AU55 for an average of $73,000.

This rare key date is seldom seen in any condition. The average condition of all surviving 1855-O double eagles is XF45 or so, and only 80-100 coins are believed to exist in all grades. Coins meeting the standards to be called about uncirculated are very rare and mint-state examples are excessively rare with only 3-4 known. So, when one presents itself in AU or better it should be considered strongly by any serious double eagle enthusiast.

The current specimen is a remarkable example for the pickiest of connoisseurs. Sandwiched between the 1854-O and 1856-O at exponentially more money it represents an extraordinary opportunity for that special collector seeking valuable addition to their portfolio.

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