1862-S $20 Liberty Double Eagle PCGS AU53, Ex. S.S. Brother Jonathan. Inventory recovery #198. Like the other San Francisco issues from the shipwreck, these 1862-S Brother Jonathan gold coins do not appear for sale very often – either publicly at auction or on the internet. We note the last time an 1862-S $20 came up for sale was at the ANA in 2009. There, number #172 (note this one is #198), brought $6,325. Prior to that, we see no others offered for sale since the initial release by Bowers & Merena on May of 1999.
Heritage sold the aforementioned specimen as lot #2706 in their Los Angeles Signature Sale, and described it as “…Insert shows serial number 172. A warmly lustrous yellow-gold example of this popular Civil War-era San Francisco issue, modestly worn with a slightly above-average strike. Abrasions are minor save for a scrape to the left of Liberty’s forehead.”
We also note that within 30 days of this sale, a non-Brother Jonathan AU53 sold for $2,417 by the same auction company – signifying the immense demand for these shipwreck items and their provenance. Today,non-Brother Jonathan gold coins in AU53 are selling for an average of $3,625 or a 50% increase. If there’s any correlation to this price increase to the value of the S.S. Brother Jonathan coins, this coin is arguably worth nearly $9,500 today. We’ve priced this one to sell…
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. The market value then was in the $5 million