The 1891 Liberty Head $20 Gold Coins are rather common as nearly 1.3 million were minted, and many survive today. The gold coins were minted in 3 facilities in 1891, Philadelphia, Carson City, and San Francisco, with the latter facility producing the vast majority of that year’s output, as gold coins circulated mainly in the West. Liberty Head $20 Gold Coins were designed by James B. Longacre, who served as the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1844 through 1869.
The challenge with these coins, however, is the fact that they are so aged, few pieces have survived the years in excellent condition. Because fewer well-preserved pieces exist every year, finding a Liberty Head $20 Gold Coin in excellent condition is only going to grow ever more challenging.
For coins from the 1800s, the most difficult task for collectors is finding a piece that has remained in decent condition through its 100+ year history. Though well-preserved pieces do exist, they are seldom easy to be found, and even more seldom found in decent condition. For this reason, you will see collectors carefully analyzing every facet of a coin prior to it being purchased.
Under normal circumstances, a coin that is having its condition called into question will be sent away to a professional organization for grading. Understanding that not everyone has the time and money set aside to send their coins away for grading, we have provided below an outline of the different characteristics of the most popular coin grades.
Uncirculated: A coin that is determined to be Uncirculated is one that spent very little time, and sometimes none whatsoever, in circulation. These Silver Dollars will have all of their imagery and inscriptions perfectly preserved such that the coin’s actual texture is no different than what it was the day it was first minted. For collectors, finding a Silver Dollar in Uncirculated condition is no simple task.
Extremely Fine: Extremely Fine is a coin grade given to pieces that were circulated, but not for very extended periods of time. These coins will show some light surface wear, but for the most part will appear to be in pristine condition. For collectors, these coins are often preferred over Uncirculated editions simply because they can often be acquired for a lesser price.
Fine: Fine is a middle of the road grade given to coins that have been circulated, but have not incurred the type of damage you would expect to find on a coin that was exchanged for so long. All in all, coins of Fine grade will have had their surface worn down a bit due to the changing of hands over the years, and consistent surface scratching will be able to be made out.
Good: Good is the worst grade a coin can receive, but is not all that uncommon for a piece that is well over one hundred years old. These coins exchanged hands for an extended period of time, and because of that have had ample opportunities to become damaged and worn. All in all, these coins are a great addition to any collection simply because they are so old and only becoming increasingly difficult to get ahold of.
When it comes to trying to determine a price for a given 1878 Morgan Silver Dollar, there is no cut and dry way of doing so. Instead, you must first look at the type of coin you are buying. Because multiple different types of Morgan Silver Dollars were produced every year, the scarcity associated with the coin’s specific type will play into the asking price. Secondly, because collectors care so much about condition, the condition of the coin will also play into the asking price. Below is a chart aimed at giving you a better idea of what you might be asked to pay for a Morgan Silver Dollar given its condition and type.
Liberty Head $20 Gold Coin
|1891 Liberty Head $20 Gold Coin||N/A||N/A||$13,500||$22,500|
|1891 Liberty Head $20 Gold Coin (CC)||N/A||N/A||$10,000||$16,500|
|1891 Liberty Head $20 Gold Coin (S)||N/A||N/A||$1,500||$1,575||Source: Red Book|