PCGS Grades Ultra-Rare 1863 $20 Gold Certificate

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) recently graded one of the rarest and most important banknotes in United States history. The note, a Civil War-era 1863 $20 Gold Certificate, was submitted by Stack’s Bowers Galleries for grading through PCGS Banknote.

“We are always excited to see notes of this caliber be submitted for grading,” said PCGS President Stephanie Sabin. “It’s among the most important notes out there to have come through our offices since our banknote grading team began accepting submissions in 2020. Some of the other iconic notes we have graded include the famous 1890 $1,000 Treasury Note Grand Watermelon bill and an original 100-note pack of Series 1934 $500 Federal Reserve Notes.”

“It is incredible that we are getting to see mega-rarities like this come through the grading room,” said Director of PCGS Banknote Joe Pielago. “I have great pride in the strength and growth of our banknote division and the positive impact our grading and research services have in building a stronger market for banknotes and providing security and value for collectors whose notes we encapsulate.”

Stack’s Bowers Galleries Director of Currency Peter Treglia said, “We are pleased to have privately brokered one of the most significant United States Banknotes ever issued.”

The significance of the 1863 $20 Gold Certificate cannot be overstated. It emerged from the very first issue of United States Gold Certificates and features a brilliant golden-orange color on its reverse to represent the precious metal by which the note was backed. A Liberty Head Double Eagle gold coin is depicted at the center of the printed design on the reverse of the note.

Early Gold Certificates, such as this piece, seldom saw circulation in general commerce and were primarily used for settling gold reserve balances between financial institutions. The note came in two varieties, with Assistant United States Treasurer in New York, Henry H. Van Dyke, an Abraham Lincoln appointee, initially hand-signing printings of this issue before engraved printing plates with his signature were prepared and put into use. Van Dyke’s actual autograph – which this note features at lower center left – is seen on this note, of which only two such examples are known.

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About Professional Coin Grading Service

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is a third-party coin and banknote grading company that was launched in 1986. Over 35 years, PCGS has examined and certified more than 50 million U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens with a combined value of over $49 billion. For more information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, please visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.


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