Finest Known 1927-S Double Eagle, MS67 PCGS1927-S $20 MS67 PCGS. Like many other issues in the Saint-Gaudens series from the 1920s and 1930s, the 1927-S had a substantial mintage. In this case, 3.1 million pieces were produced in the San Francisco mint in this year. However, almost the entire mintage was melted in the 1930s. In the 1940s, the 1927-S was considered the fourth scarcest issue in the series and was thought to be even more elusive than the 1927-D. In the 1950s that perception began to change, however, as one or two pieces at a time began to show up in European gold holdings. But, like the 1926-D, it never appeared in any quantity. Very few examples are known today in all grades, and it is always a focal point of any auction.
Near-Gem and better specimens are very difficult to come by. PCGS and NGC combined have certified fewer than 40 coins in MS64 and higher grades, and MS67 pieces, the condition of the Morse specimen offered here, are downright rare. The two services have seen a mere three examples in this grade level, and none finer (9/05). Moreover, only 17 near-Gem and better '27-S's have appeared at auction over the past 25 years, and only one piece attained the MS67 level.
Some relatively recent auction appearances of high Mint State grade 1927-S coins follows. Stack's offered a Choice Brilliant Uncirculated piece with "delicate coppery orange toning over virtually mark free surfaces" in its March 1990 sale (lot 1218). The same firm sold another Choice Brilliant Uncirculated described as having "Deep greenish gold toning on frosty surfaces" (lot 1544) in March 1991. An NGC-graded MS65 coin described as having "greenish-gold toning with hints of pale orange" appeared in Superior's August 1992 sale (lot 687). In June 1995, we sold an NGC-graded MS67 piece (lot 6027) from the Museum of Connecticut History in our Long Beach sale. This is the same piece as the presently-offered Morse coin; as such, we will say more about it shortly. To continue, though, with '27-S auction appearances, David Akers cataloged the Thaine Price specimen in his May 1998 sale, in which he described the piece as having "unimprovable rich coppery orange gold" color and being "absolutely fully struck" (lot 116). Sotheby's/Stack's offered a Very Choice Brilliant Uncirculated specimen in their October 2001 Jeff Browning Sale (lot 207). And an NGC-graded MS66 coin described as having intense and frosty luster was sold by Superior in February 2002 (lot 1379).
As previously mentioned, the coin offered in this lot is the same that appeared in our June 1995 Long Beach sale. Aside from now being housed in a PCGS holder, we can use the description from the 1995 auction: "When a 1927-S is occasionally seen, it is usually a memorable coin as most examples are uncirculated and display highly lustrous surfaces. This is a coin of singular distinction, though, even among 1927-S twenties. Among all the rare, late date twenties from the Connecticut Public Library this coin has the most extraordinary surfaces....The coin is virtually perfect. The mint luster is bright and fully frosted, racing around the surfaces as it is tilted beneath a light. With the aid of a magnifier it is possible to find a few microscopic marks on each side. However, with the unaided eye we only note three minor imperfections. The first and most obvious is a small copper alloy spot in the right obverse field. Such stains are quite prevalent on '27-S twenties and this is the only one on this coin. If this is the worst flaw on the coin, it is really not saying much. Second, there is a tiny mark on the eighth ray on the obverse (counting from left to right). Third, a slightly curved scrape is noted on the sun. As it runs parallel to the rim, we believe this is probably some sort of mint made flaw, possibly having to do with ejection from the die. That being said, we must confess this is one of the most attractive business strike Saints we have ever seen, regardless of date. This issue is often seen weakly struck, but this coin shows every nuance of definition that was engraved into the dies. It also lacks the often seen die crack on the right side of the obverse. Altogether a spectacular example of this rare issue. This is a singular opportunity for the advanced collector of this series to acquire what is unquestionably the finest known 1927-S" Saint-Gaudens double eagle. Population: 1 in 67, 0 finer (9/05).
From The Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage.(#9188)(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 26GJ, PCGS# 9188)
View all of [The Morse Collection: Palm Beach, November 3, 2005 ]
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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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