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Second Finest Known 1921 Double Eagle, A Fabulous MS65 Example

1921 $20 MS65 PCGS. The absolute and condition rarity of the 1921 double eagle is beyond question in the minds of specialists in this series. An AU example is enough to raise the eyebrows of collectors, and most Uncirculated pieces are tightly held in major collections. The question of how this coin compares to the above MS66 is inevitable. The fact is, there is very little difference in the technical preservation or mint luster between the two pieces. This MS65 shows three tiny marks: one short abrasion below Liberty's right (facing) elbow, and two barely perceptible planchet flakes above the 21 in the date. The mint luster and color on this coin is nothing short of fabulous. Like the MS66 above, it also possesses a softly frosted finish. However, it is brighter and even more vibrant than the MS66 because it lacks the reddish color and pale alloy spots that are seen on the MS66. Like the MS66, this coin has the same curious mixture of green-gold and orange-gold coloration, but the reverse has a pronounced intermingling of both colors with the greenish-lilac color quite evident. The striking details are exceptionally strong, and unlike the MS66, there is no trace of weakness on the eagle's breast feathers.
While attempting to trace the pedigree of these coins, it became apparent that the coin that was labeled as the George Godard piece in Stack's session of Auction '82, and later in Superior's Premier Sale from January 1984, has not found its way into an MS65 holder. Only one MS65 and one MS66 coin have been certified by the major services, and both are in the collection of Phillip Morse. The interpretation we give to this is that George Godard gave the better of the two coins he received from Dr. Comparette to Senator Hall, and Godard's piece (if it is indeed in a holder) is a less-than-Gem example.
The offering of these two pieces at public auction represents a unique opportunity for the specialist to compare and contrast the finest two coins certified, weigh each on their relative merits, and bid accordingly. Surely the pairing of these 1921 double eagles will not be duplicated again in our lifetime, and if there was ever a time for the specialist to stretch, this is it. With the aid of Dr. Stephen Duckor, we have been able to tentatively reconstruct this coin's pedigree as:
Ex: Dr. Thomas Louis Comparette; George Godard; Senator Hall; Louis Eliasberg; Eliasberg Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/82), lot 1052; Dr. Stephen Duckor; Jay Parrino (1990).
From The Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage.(#9172)(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 26G2, PCGS# 9172)

View all of [The Morse Collection: Palm Beach, November 3, 2005 ]

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
November, 2005
3rd Thursday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 3,827

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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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