1864-S $20 Liberty Double Eagle PCGS AU55 CAC, Ex. S.S. Brother Jonathan. Inventory recovery #410.
The S.S. Brother Jonathan is quite possibly THE most popular shipwreck treasure for collectors of $20 gold pieces – and it’s also the most elusive.
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 range. It’s probably five-times that amount today!