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Description

Select 1920-S Double Eagle
Prime Condition and Absolute Rarity
Only 16 Coins Certified Finer at PCGS

1920-S $20 MS63 PCGS. The 1920-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle is one of the premier rarities in the series, especially in high grade. David Akers considers the '20-S the fifth rarest coin of the 53 coin series in absolute terms, after the 1921, 1927-D, 1930-S, and the currently uncollectible 1933. The 1920-S holds an even higher place in the rarity rankings when collectors seek a high quality piece. Excluding the "impossible" 1933, only the 1921 is more difficult to locate in high grades. Experts estimate only 65-75 coins survive in all Mint State grades.
The double eagle denomination actually circulated to some extent in the western United States before World War I, but coinage of twenty dollar gold pieces was discontinued after 1916, when the country entered the war. When coinage was finally resumed in 1920, the role of the double eagle had changed. The public had become accustomed to paper money, and the big gold pieces no longer circulated in the regional economy, much like the half dollar denomination today. Most of the double eagles minted after 1920 were held in Treasury vaults or domestic banks as backing for gold certificates, or used in foreign trade. These coins were easily rounded up and melted after the Gold Recall of 1933. Almost the entire mintage of the 1920-S, 558,000 pieces, was destroyed in this manner. While many dates in the later Saint-Gaudens series suffered the same fate, the 1920-S is the first date to experience this kind of rarity, due to melting.
The present coin is a sharply detailed Select specimen, with just the slightest touch of softness on the Capitol building. The surfaces display rich orange-gold color, with green highlights, and vibrant, frosty mint luster. A few minor abrasions on both sides account for the grade, but do little to diminish the considerable visual appeal. Population: 11 in 63, 16 finer (1/11).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26FZ, PCGS# 9171)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
February, 2011
3rd-6th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
Members Tracking: N/A
Page Views: 3,843

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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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