Coveted 1921 Double Eagle AU581921 $20 AU58 PCGS. Over the years, the 1921 has gradually emerged as the third-rarest regular issue Saint-Gaudens double eagle, behind only the uncollectible 1933 and the prohibitively rare 1927-D. Since the mintage of the 1921 is 528,500 pieces, what happened to them all? Why has PCGS certified only 93 examples in all grades? Almost certainly, more than 99% of the mintage remained in Treasury holdings until the 1933 FDR gold recall prevented their release into collector hands.
Eventually, those coins were melted into ingots housed in the legendary gold vault of Fort Knox. Since few collected late-date double eagles in 1921, and international commerce needs were met by Treasury releases of 1922 to 1928 double eagles, the only demand for 1921 twenties came from the Treasury itself, which used them to back gold certificates.
Anyone could have obtained a 1921 twenty (or even a 1927-D) prior to 1933 simply by writing a letter to the Treasury with proper payment. This method maintained the Joseph C. Mitchelson collection at the Connecticut State Library during the 1920s. Some 1921 double eagles apparently went into non-numismatic hands, since a majority of the PCGS pieces are in AU grades, especially AU55 to AU58. Such pieces were probably set aside as a novelty by non-collectors, since gold coins of any date seldom circulated after World War I. Only after the FDR gold recall did such keepsakes suddenly attain significant collector value.
The present piece is likely such a lightly handled keepsake. Although both sides display unbroken mint bloom, slight friction is noted on Liberty's nose, chest, and raised knee. The rich orange-gold surfaces display only scattered minor marks. The 1921 is typically the final date added to an important collection of Saint-Gaudens twenties, and the present example provides a rare opportunity to obtain an example under six figures. Population: 25 in 58, 45 finer (12/08).
See: Video Lot Description(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26G2, PCGS# 9172)
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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
two extraordinary collections: The Phillip H. Morse collection and the Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor collection.
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