1859-S $20 Liberty Double Eagle PCGS XF45, Ex. S.S. Brother Jonathan. Low Inventory recovery #81. These 1859-S Brother Jonathan gold coins virtually never appear for sale – either publicly at auction or on the internet. We are hard-pressed to come up with an auction record for ANY circulated grade after May of 1999. Yes, these coins are that rare! We’ve found three (3) 1859-S $20’s from the S.S. Republic, but none from the Brother Jonathan.
The SS Brother Jonathan was lost in the Pacific off Crescent City, California, on 30 August 1865. The ship carried an unknown quantity of coins, but it yielded slightly more than a thousand pieces when the wreck was found in the 1990s. Most were double eagles of the 1865-S variety and a lesser number of 1864-S and 1863-S twenties, along with some other varieties which are prohibitively rare and in many cases uncollectable since they are held in strong, private hands (collections). The 1859-S through 1862-S double eagles can easily fall into this category. Most were sold at auction in 1999.