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1927-S Saint-Gaudens Twenty, MS65
Elusive, Late-Series Mintmark Issue
Very Rare in Higher Grades

1927-S $20 MS65 NGC. The 1927-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle has always been regarded as a front-rank rarity in this celebrated series, in spite of its large reported mintage of 3.1 million pieces. In fact, in the late 1930s, the rarity rankings for the series were totally dominated by mintmarked issues of the mid-1920s. At that time, the 1927-S was believed to be the fourth rarest Saint-Gaudens double eagle, after the 1924-S, 1926-D, and the 1926-S. These coins were all virtually unobtainable throughout the 1940s, with prominent numismatists like B. Max Mehl estimating only 3-4 examples of each of these dates were known. Fortunately for modern collectors, examples of all these dates were found in European banks, starting in the 1950s, and all four issues are more available today than they were 60 years ago. Fewer specimens of the 1927-S surfaced in these finds than any of the other "extremely rare" coins from this group, and the date is still considered a major rarity today.

The secret to the rarity of the 1927-S lies in the number of coins actually released through official channels before the Gold Recall of 1933. Research conducted by Dr. Charles W. Green in the 1940s reveals that only 3,750 examples of the 1927-S were actually released from government holdings, and the remainder of the huge mintage, over 3 million coins, was presumably melted after Roosevelt's executive order was enforced. Experts estimate a surviving population of only 160-170 specimens today, with about a third of that number showing signs of actual circulation. The few specimens known to the numismatic community in the early days were probably purchased directly from the San Francisco Mint by astute collectors, and the other uncirculated examples were preserved by European banks until they became available in recent times. While the supply of 1927-S double eagles includes an unusually high proportion of circulated specimens, and Uncirculated pieces are usually seen below the Choice level, there are also a few extremely high grade pieces in collector's hands. Perhaps the finest known specimen is the PCGS graded MS67 coin that appeared in the Museum of Connecticut History holding (in an NGC holder), and later in the Phillip H. Morse Collection (Heritage, 11/2005), lot 6698, where it realized $345,000.

The present coin is a delightful Gem, with sharply detailed design elements and vibrant mint luster on both sides. The well-preserved yellow-gold surfaces show only minor signs of contact and eye appeal is terrific. Census: 5 in 65, 6 finer (2/14).
From the Collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26GJ, PCGS# 9188)

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Auction Dates
March, 2014
20th Thursday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 13
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 664

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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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