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Lustrous MS62 1920-S Double Eagle
West Coast Melt Rarity

1920-S $20 MS62 PCGS. CAC. The mintage provides only an upper bound to the possible number of survivors for an issue. How many examples actually have made it to the present can be a far different story, and the mirror-twin distortions of mass saving and mass melting have turned rarity for a number of dates. The double eagles dated 1920 are a case-in-point: the 1920 Philadelphia issue saw production of 228,250 pieces, whereas the San Francisco Mint struck 558,000 of the big coins -- yet today, the 1920 is one of the more common issues of the series, while the 1920-S is a prestigious rarity.
What happened? The 1920-dated double eagles were the first of that denomination since 1916 at San Francisco and 1915 at Philadelphia. World War I disrupted the international commerce that had become a prime reason for the denomination's existence. While enough 1920-dated Philadelphia double eagles went overseas for that issue to be accessible in this post-repatriation era, the 1920-S apparently languished in government holdings and never was paid out except in dribs and drabs. The subsequent San Francisco double eagle issue, the 1922-S, suffers from a similar problem of mass melting but to a lesser extent.
As an MS62 representative that is attractive, this coin hits a "sweet spot" for many collectors. Both sides have scattered small marks and Liberty's knee has a touch of flatness, but the warm yellow-gold luster across each side is rewarding. The plastic over the middle of the eagle has a wedge-shaped flaw that should not be read as damage to the coin. Population: 17 in 62 (1 in 62+), 28 finer (11/12).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26FZ, PCGS# 9171)

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Auction Dates
January, 2013
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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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Museum of Connecticut History of Hartford, CT,
Hartford, CT
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