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1926-D Saint Gaudens Double Eagle, MS64
Important Condition Rarity

1926-D $20 MS64 PCGS. CAC. The 1926-D Saint-Gaudens double eagle has a storied past. In the mid-1940s the issue was considered one of the least available dates in the series, ahead of such 20th century rarities as the 1927-D and the Ultra High Relief. Its status as the "rarest of the rare" was shared by only the 1924-S and the 1926-S. The discovery of small numbers of key-date double eagles in European banks in the 1950s changed the relative rarity rankings of all the key issues. Today the 1926-D is regarded as a rare date, but it no longer challenges the 1927-D or 1933 for top honors in absolute rarity. However, as a condition rarity, it remains a top contender. In the Thaine B. Price Collection (Akers, 5/1998), lot 112, David Akers called the 1926-D "one of the premier condition rarities of the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle series." Akers went on to report:

"The 'World's Greatest Collection' sale in 1946 represented the very first offering of this rare issue at public auction and the Dr. Charles W. Green sale conducted by B. Max Mehl in 1949 was the second. The Menjou sale in 1950 was only the third time that the 1926-D had ever been sold publicly. At the time of those three sales, the 1926-D was generally regarded as the ultimate rarity in the Saint-Gaudens series along with the 1924-S and 1926-S. The discovery in the intervening years of some rather low quality Uncirculated specimens has dimmed the fame of the 1926-D to a degree, but its status as a great condition rarity remains unchallenged and unsurpassed among the issues of this popular series."

Population data from the leading grading services supports Akers' assessment of the 1926-D as a prime condition rarity. At the near-Gem level, the issue is quite rare. NGC has certified only nine coins in MS64, with none finer; while PCGS has graded 19 examples at the near-Gem level, with five finer (11/09).
The present coin is a delightful specimen, with pleasing orange-gold surfaces highlighted by hints of lilac on the reverse center. The 1926-D is often seen with extensive weakness on the peripheral design elements, but the coin offered here exhibits only slight softness on the Capitol and some of the stars. The surfaces radiate rich satiny luster. A few marks above the eagle's head and to the left of the tail feathers, and a short horizontal mark across Liberty's head limit the grade.
From The Ralph P. Muller Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GE, PCGS# 9184)

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Auction Dates
January, 2010
6th-10th Wednesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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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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