By Walter Durham
In mid-1849, legislation was approved to begin minting the $20 Liberty gold coin. At least two of these coins were minted in December of 1849; one is now located in the Smithsonian. Introduced into circulation in 1850, the $20 Liberty immediately became the largest denomination of all regular U.S. coins to date. In all, the $20 Liberty was minted at five different mints throughout its production.
In total, the United States Mint struck 3 different design types from 1849 to 1907:
Type I coins do not feature the motto ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’
The denomination is written as 'TWENTY D.'
The ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ motto was added to the reverse in 1866, resulting in the Type II design.
Another design change involved altering the shape of the shield on the reverse from straight to curved in the ornate rococo style of the day.
In 1877, the denomination was changed to read ‘TWENTY DOLLARS’ instead of ‘TWENTY D.’
This is the only difference between Type II and Type III $20 Liberty gold coins.
Size: $20 Liberty
Weight: 33.436 g
Metal Content: 0.9675 oz.
Diameter: 34 mm