1920-S Double Eagle, MS62
1920-S $20 MS62 PCGS. CAC. The 1920-S double eagle was the
first issue of the denomination struck in San Francisco since the
1916-S, and the contrasts between the two dates could hardly be
more extreme. While their mintages are similar--796,000 coins for
the 1916-S and 558,000 for the 1920-S--in every other way they are
With Remarkably Clean Surfaces
Among the Most Elusive in the Series
The 1916-S double eagle is widely available in the higher Mint State grades, with dozens of examples certified as high as MS66 and even the occasional MS67. The updated Akers Handbook maintains that the 1916-S is rarer than the 1911-D, 1914-D, 1914-S, and 1915-S, yet still among the commonest issues in the series.
The 1920-S twenty, on the other hand, is considered one of the most elusive issues in an already-difficult series. It is generally believed that most of the issue was melted; the average survivor usually falls somewhere short of Mint State. There are considerably fewer examples of the 1927-D surviving than of the 1920-S, yet the 1920-S is far more elusive in the highest Mint State grades--a level where the 1927-D shines.
From the Akers/Ambio Handbook, we cite the following figures which may help clarify the relative rarities:
--1916-S. Mint State Survivors: 6,100-7,600. MS65: 1,475-1,975. MS66 or Finer: 200-250.
--1920-S. Mint State Survivors: 65-75. MS65: 3-4. MS66 or Finer: 2.
--1921. Mint State Survivors: 50-60. MS65: 2-3. MS66 or Finer: 1.
--1927-D. Mint State Survivors: 12-20. MS65: 2-5. MS66 or Finer: 8-10.
--1930-S. Mint State Survivors: 40-55. MS65: 10-12. MS66 or Finer: 4-5.
As can be seen, while the 1920-S in the lower Mint State grades is not quite as rare as the 1921 or the 1930-S and much more available than the 1927-D, at the Gem and finer levels the 1920-S and 1921 are about equally elusive and number far fewer than the 1927-D.
The foregoing analysis should serve to put this MS62 example of the 1920-S (and its siblings in this sale) into its proper perspective, as a conditionally extremely rare coin--and one that is not likely to be upgraded soon. The surfaces are remarkably clean overall, with no singular marks or other distractions. The somewhat subdued mint luster accounts for the grade. The strike is bold but stops short of full, with the normal weakness appearing on the pillars of the Capitol building. Population: 16 in 62, 27 finer (1/11).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26FZ, PCGS# 9171)
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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
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