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1916-S Double Eagle, MS66
Tied for Finest at PCGS
Final Issue of the Teens

1916-S $20 MS66 PCGS Secure. CAC. The 796,000 double eagles struck at San Francisco in 1916 were the only twenties struck that year, and the last of that denomination coined during the decade of the teens. (The next examples of the type would come in 1920, at Philadelphia and San Francisco.) At one time, the 1916-S was considered the second most plentiful mintmarked issue of the early series of Saint-Gaudens double eagles. However, the issue ranks in the middle of 15 issues today. Seven early mintmarked issues have higher total PCGS populations than the 1916-S, and seven others have lower total populations.
PCGS has certified 4,527 examples (10/11) of the 1916-S in all grades, from a low of VF30 to a high of MS66. Like many other early issues, nearly all certified pieces grade no lower than AU58, with only 53 coins graded below that level. As is the case with many other early issues in the series, the data tells us that the 1916-S never entered circulation. Most examples available to collectors today came from several large hoards. Those hoards included coins originally exported to Central America that were returned to the United States in the early 1980s.
David Akers explained in 1988 in A Handbook of 20th-Century United States Gold Coins 1907-1933:

"Several hoards totaling thousands of Mint State pieces have been dispersed over the past two decades. In 1983, a group of over 4,000 Mint State examples was discovered in Central America, and many of the pieces graded in the MS-63 to MS-65 range. As a result, the 1916-S is now a relatively common issue in any Mint State grade up to and including MS-65."

Like the 1912, the 1916-S is a single-mint issue, having no counterparts from the other operating mints of its day (Philadelphia and Denver). For that reason, the 1916-S experiences greater demand than the other Saint-Gaudens double eagles of the decade of 1910-20. That demand comes from date collectors who seek one example per year, as well as the traditional collectors seeking complete sets.
The present Premium Gem Duckor specimen is tied for the numerically finest that PCGS has certified. (Although PCGS has certified more than 120 submissions at the MS66 grade level, no 1916-S has ever achieved even MS66+, much less MS67.) The surfaces feature deep orange- and lilac-gold in the centers that is deepest at the bottom obverse, with jade-green nearer to the rims on each side, creating a stunning two-toned effect. The strike is boldly impressed while stopping short of full, displaying minor weakness at the lower obverse on the oak leaves and Capitol. A few minor marks are scattered across Liberty's midsection. The reverse shows fewer tiny abrasions along with equally bold coloration. This is an incredible coin that should forever dispel some collectors' belief that original gold coins do not tone.
Ex: David Hall.
From The Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Collection.
Seller is donating a portion of their proceeds, and Heritage is donating the same portion of the Buyer's Premium, from the sale of this lot to the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. See page 3 for details.(Registry values: N2998) (NGC ID# 34NJ, PCGS# 9169)

View all of [The Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Collection ]

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
January, 2012
3rd-8th Tuesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 849

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The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Morse and Duckor Collections
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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