1922-S $20 MS65 PCGS. CAC....
Incredible Color, The Duckor Coin
The auction history of the 1922-S is long. An example was featured at least as early as the New York Collection Part II (Morgenthau, 5/1939), lot 549, described as "1922 S Uncirculated and very scarce." The lot realized $69, about on par with the 1927-S at $67, the 1931 at $61, and the 1932 at $76. The status of the 1922-S as a series-rarity increased throughout the following decade, but a subtle change could be observed by 1949. B. Max Mehl, who always had a finger on the pulse of the numismatic market, reported in lot 878 of the Dr. Charles W. Green Collection catalog in April 1949:
"1922 S. Uncirculated with frosty mint surface. The coin, however, does show just the slightest touch of cabinet friction. I consider this coin as extremely rare. Probably not more than a dozen specimens known to exist. This specimen also comes from the Bell Sale in 1944 at $340.00. At that time this coin cataloged for only $100.00. Another specimen offered in the 'World's Greatest Collection' in 1946 brought $420.00. Since then a specimen sold for less, but I still think this coin is one of the rarest of all Branch Mint Double Eagles."
Despite Mehl's estimate of only 12 specimens known, his note about the falling price of a recent offering proved prophetic, as the lot only realized $275. The 1922-S began to appear in quantity in European banks in the following decades, and the date was well represented in a famous Central American hoard that surfaced in 1983. Today, the 1922-S can be found in lower Mint State grades with little difficulty; high-grade examples remain quite rare.
Consulting the current PCGS Population Report, we find that only 11 examples of the 1922-S have been certified in MS65, with just two MS66 pieces finer. The totals may contain a few resubmissions and crossovers. Probably no more than 18 to 25 coins survive in MS65 or finer grades.
The present coin is a delightful Gem with remarkable visual appeal. The reverse exhibits the curious inner rim caused by die buckling often seen on specimens of this date. There are a few obverse copper spots that are almost expected with this issue. The design elements are well-detailed, displaying just a touch of softness on the Capitol dome. The incredible color overshadows all other aesthetic considerations. Lemon-yellow, copper-gold, and greenish-gold combine to amazing effect on this example; a couple of small areas verge on purple. Rich, rolling cartwheel luster adds to the amazing eye appeal. A few scattered abrasions are more minor and widespread than the grade might imply. A comparable specimen of this historic issue may not be offered for some time, and the discerning collector should bid accordingly.
Ex: David Akers; Duckor Collection / FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2012), lot 4632, which brought $46,000.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26G4, PCGS# 9174)
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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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