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Of all the coins struck for circulation by the United States, none are more impressive than the Double Eagle, or $20 Gold Piece. Containing nearly an ounce of gold, they are large, heavy and carry the highest face value of any U.S. coin struck for circulation. Rather surprisingly, the Double Eagle enjoyed uninterrupted mintage for 66 consecutive years; from 1850 to 1916. The Double Eagle was struck in two basic designs; the Liberty Head (1850-1907) and the Saint Gaudens Design (1907-1933). Not counting the 1933 (of which only one legal example is known) there are four ultra-rare dates. In the Liberty Series, the 1854-O, 1856-O and 1870-CC are mid-six figure coins by virtue of their almost negligible original mintage. In the St. Gaudens Series, the 1927-D is the unquestioned key. In this case though, the original mintage was not extremely low – they were simply melted. Perhaps 15 or so pieces remain. Incorporating major varieties into the set does not alter the picture dramatically. In fact, only eight additional coins are required for the set – and of these, only two are significant. The two Paquet Reverse Double Eagles of 1861 are both considerable rarities. The 1861-S is rare but available occasionally. The 1861-P on the other hand, is an extraordinary rarity, with only two pieces known to have survived.
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