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Description

1920-S Saint-Gaudens Twenty, MS62
Fifth Rarest Collectible Issue of the Series

1920-S $20 MS62 NGC. Though more than half a million double eagles were struck in San Francisco in 1920, the first coinage of that denomination on the West Coast after a three-year hiatus, the coins did not achieve widespread distribution, and it is believed many were melted. In the words of Garrett and Guth, from their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins: "The 1920-S double eagle is one of the most significant rarities of this series. ... No significant numbers have turned up from overseas hoards, and the few that remain are apparently simply here by chance."
Thus, the 1920-S issue marks not only a return, but also a beginning, the beginning of a series of challenging issues, some rare only in high grades but many rare in virtually all grades. The 1920-S straddles the line between the two; it is only a borderline condition rarity at the MS62 level and above, yet there is not a large pool of survivors in the grades below, either. David Akers believes 65-75 examples survive today in all Uncirculated grades.
Garrett and Guth declare that "Many [1920-S twenties] show minor striking weakness on the lower portion of the obverse ..." and also, "Luster is average for this date." Though Liberty's toes show a degree of striking softness, this example's pale yellow-gold luster rates as decidedly above-average. The coin comes by its MS62 grade honestly, with a number of light field abrasions and a small cut on the top of the eagle's near wing, but the visual appeal is strong for a piece not rewarded with a Select designation. An intriguing candidate for the series enthusiast. Census: 18 in 62, 27 finer (12/10).
Ex: Fort Worth Signature Auction (Heritage, 3/2010), lot 2805.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26FZ, PCGS# 9171)

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Auction Dates
February, 2011
3rd-6th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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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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