Magnificent MS67 1930-S Ten, Ex: Duckor1930-S $10 MS67 PCGS. Ex: Duckor. As America's circulating gold coinage production wound down though the 1920s and on to 1933, San Francisco's output became increasingly irregular. The West Coast facility was the only site to coin half eagles in 1916; production of the denomination ceased until Philadelphia created its heavily melted issue of 1929. While twenty dollar output enjoyed some consistency, at least in the years that other Mints produced the denomination, the end of the ten dollar denomination was fitful, with a decade falling between the famous 1920-S eagles and the 1930-S pieces, with the lone Philadelphia issue of 1926 intervening. The eagles and double eagles minted at San Francisco in 1930 would be the last U.S. gold coins struck at that Mint until 1984, when it manufactured a different sort of "eagle": ten dollar proof gold commemoratives for the Los Angeles Olympiad.
The 1930-S eagles, already few in number from the tiny original mintage of 96,000 pieces, was decimated by the gold meltings of the Roosevelt Administration. The vast majority of survivors are in varying degrees of Mint State, indicating an issue that met the same fate as many of the other melt rarities of the era. Garrett and Guth, in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins, write: "In overall terms of rarity, this date ranks a little behind the 1920-S, with just a few hundred known in all, and those are scattered over the grading spectrum." The 1930-S eagle perhaps warrants a stronger compliment; the authors' use of "a few hundred" substantially overstates this issue's availability, since fewer than 200 entries appear in the combined certified population and most authorities list between 125 and 150 pieces extant.
Most of those survivors share several physical traits. As described in The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse Collection, "When encountered, the 1930-S is invariably found with thick mint frost, a common trait on S-mint tens in this series." The book further notes that the strike can be soft, particularly at the centers, and that the color is typically "bright yellow or greenish-gold," with red overtones present on many of the highest-graded examples.
This coin's last auction appearance took place in November 1973. The cataloger for Bowers & Ruddy described it as "Gem Brilliant Uncirculated, an absolutely unimprovable specimen of this great rarity. Only rarely does a 1930-S appear on the market. Even rarer still is the appearance of a gem such as this. Worthy of a strong bid." Though one may quibble about the "absolutely unimprovable" aspect of the present piece (a small, shallow reverse graze to the left of the second A in AMERICA is a vital pedigree marker), the sentiment is agreeable, and time has changed neither the rarity of a top-notch example such as this, nor how deserving it is of collector attention. Impressively lustrous yellow-gold surfaces host meticulously preserved devices that sport razor-sharp peripheral detail with only the slightest hint of softness visible at the usual areas. Visual appeal is nothing short of spectacular, and the piece displays beautifully. As the only MS67 representative of this issue certified by PCGS (11/08), it is easily one of the most desirable Saint-Gaudens eagles in existence, and the dedicated student of the series will recognize the extraordinary nature of this Superb Gem's auction appearance. It is impossible to know how many more decades may pass before such an opportunity comes again.
Ex: Bowers & Ruddy, 11/73, lot 560; The Dr. & Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Collection.
From The Jim O'Neal Collection of Saint-Gaudens Eagles.
See: Video Lot Description(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 28HA, PCGS# 8883)
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Revised Edition by James L. Halperin, Mark R. Borckardt, Mark Van Winkle, Jon Amato, and Gregory J. Rohan, with special contributor David W. Akers
The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is an issue-by-issue examination of these two artistically inspired series of gold coins.
Each date and mintmark is reviewed with up-to-date information, much of which has never been previously published. The book is based on
two extraordinary collections: The Phillip H. Morse collection and the Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor collection.
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