The $20 Liberty Gold Coin, designed by Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint James B. Longacre, features Lady Liberty on the obverse. Encircling her are 13 stars representing the original 13 colonies. Her coronet displays the word “LIBERTY”. On the reverse you will find an eagle, wings spread, shield proudly displayed over its chest. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” arches across the top while the denomination is written out below the eagle.
Coinciding with the California gold Rush, the $20 Liberty Gold Coin was issued in 1849. This coin saw three mintings and depending on the date, you will find different information on the reverse. Type I coins do not have “IN GOD WE TRUST” displayed on the coin. “IN GOD WE TRUST” was added in 1866 and coins with this motto are known as Type II. Type II coins would change after the shape of the shield was altered from straight to curved. Type III coins date from 1877, and include those with the denomination displayed as “TWENTY DOLLARS” instead of Type II’s “TWENTY D”.
Minting of the $20 Liberty Gold Coin was the result of legislation that passed in 1849. A $20 Liberty Gold Coin produced in December 1849 is displayed in the Smithsonian. The coin began circulating in 1850 and became the largest denomination U.S. coin to date.