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Description

Widely Recognized 1927-S Twenty Dollar Rarity
A Brightly Lustrous Near-Gem

1927-S $20 MS64 PCGS. The Great Recall of 1933-1934, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the United States off of the gold standard, resulted in massive meltings of Saint-Gaudens double eagles. Some of the most beautiful coins ever minted were systematically converted from numismatic works of art into mundane gold bars, many of which are still stored in government vaults at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The later dates in the series were most affected by the meltings, as many were still in government possession at the time of the recall. As such, numerous recorded mintage figures of gold coins struck during the 1920s and 1930s are completely useless when trying to ascertain the rarity of a particular issue. Ironically, it was Franklin Roosevelt's fifth cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt, who commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create new designs for the country's circulating gold coinage.
Breen suggested that only 15 examples of the 1927-S twenty were in existence when he published his landmark Complete Encyclopedia in 1988. That number seems ridiculously low based on our knowledge of this issue today. However, it may not have been too far off when Breen was researching Saint-Gaudens double eagles for inclusion in his seminal reference. Apparently more examples have been repatriated from European holdings since then. Yet even today the survival rate for this date is very low. In our 2006 series reference based on the Phillip H. Morse Collection, we noted that the issue is an absolute rather than conditional rarity, and that of the 160-170 surviving pieces, two-thirds of them were Uncirculated.
As with all 1927-S Saints we have handled, the mint luster is thick and frosted. The bright surfaces have a noticeable overlay of reddish patina that deepens even more around the margins. The devices are fully struck. There are a few scattered marks on each side, none of individual note, that keep this coin from an MS65 grade. Population: 5 in 64, 8 finer (2/10).
From The Carter Family Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GJ, PCGS# 9188)


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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2010
28th-2nd Wednesday-Sunday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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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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