By Adam Crum

Gold has kindled the imagination of mankind throughout the centuries, and gold coins have been intimately connected to the vagaries of man since recorded time began. Gold has been the forum for discussions and stories of it have filled countless volumes, as well as provided the fuel and impetus for the exploration of new and untamed lands.

Literature from the Bible down to the present day is filled with references to the fascinating yellow metal. Examples such as “Gold is to commerce what blood is to the body” and, “Gold is the key to the destiny of nations” certainly go a long way in expressing how man has long valued this most interesting of elements. Throughout history, kings have fallen trying to protect it and nations have been built by the sheer possession of it.

Undoubtedly, the historical context of gold and the romance that surrounds it is little challenged by any other element in history. It is no wonder why numismatic collectors and investors alike are drawn to the beauty and history that is woven through the minting of gold coins like America’s first large $20 gold piece – the Type I Double Eagle.

The historical context of these coins and the time of its minting are key considerations in the acquisition process. The unusually large Type I Double Eagle appeals to a broad audience of collectors and investors because the coin was born during one of the most significant and emotionally-charged eras in the development of the United States of America.

From the discovery of vast amounts of gold in the remote California territory, to the profound effect this discovery had on our nation’s economy, to the economic “Panic of 1857” and then, finally, to the Civil War, the Type I Double Eagle was intimately woven throughout the historical fabric of the years of 1849 to 1866. This enormous discovery of new found gold riches paved the way for an unprecedented explosion of wealth in America. The minting of gold coins, and their subsequent entry into commerce, had far-reaching effects on the U.S. economy. More gold coins were minted – and thus, America’s money supply increased – from 1849 to 1851 than had been minted in the previous five-plus decades.

Among these coins were the large $20 gold coins that today are known as Type I Double Eagles. Although two proof specimens were struck in December 1849, it was not until January 1850 that the first Double Eagles were minted for general circulation.

Its status as the first collectible $20 gold coin makes the 1850 date one of the most popular of all Double Eagles. The majority of surviving specimens are in the extra-fine to lower about- uncirculated grades. They are quite scarce in the middle to higher about-uncirculated range and rare in full mint state condition. The finest-known coin is a MS65 which last sold in 2007 for $200,000, proving that these first year type coins are valuable and popular numismatic rarities.

The 1850 Double Eagle is a date that always commands my attention, and I always attempt to buy the date when seen. Amazingly, after months of negotiation, I recently acquired a hoard of Type I Double Eagles the likes of which I’d never even heard of, much less seen. While this hoard had a great cross section of dates ranging from 1850 to 1866, it contained an incredible 105 coins bearing the date of the first Double Eagles minted for general circulation, 1850. Condition of the coins ranged from very-fine to about-uncirculated. At the time of writing this article, many have already been sold, and the remaining coins won’t last long. The remaining grades available are AU50 to AU55, and each is certified by NGC. Being a first-year type coin, it would not be a terrible idea to own ALL of the remaining coins as the collection would be a great sampling of a date that is one of the most collected in the entire Type I Double Eagle series.

Don’t miss this opportunity to acquire America’s first-year issue of these popular and historic $20 gold coins, minted in one of the most historical eras in our nation’s history. Call now to reserve a piece of California Gold Rush history.