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Lustrous, Lovely 1929 Twenty, MS641929 $20 MS64 NGC. Unlike some earlier Saint-Gaudens issues, the 1929 never really had a chance to circulate. Most examples were still in storage when the stock market fell with a loud thud on October 29, 1929, signaling the start of the Great Depression. Accordingly, most certified examples of the 1929 double eagle at both services are found in the single Mint State grade of MS64.
Gold pundits Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, authors of the Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933, say of the 1929 issue that "beginning with the 1929 issue and continuing through the 1933 issue, any collector who undertakes obtaining these issues does so with extreme care and financial fortitude. As seen on earlier mintmarked issues, the 1929 double eagle was summarily rounded up and melted down in the 1930s." The authors peg the average grade of certified survivors at 63.4, making this piece slightly above-average among that population.
The preceding is not to say that the 1929 double eagle is common. It has little, if anything, to do with the readily available P-mint issues from 1922 to 1928 that come before it. On the contrary, it is still scarce, if not quite in the same league as the four issues that follow (1930-S, 1931 and '31-D, 1932, excluding the so-far impossible 1933).
This is really quite a special coin in terms of appearance as well. Frosty luster radiates from the surfaces that display deep, lovely greenish-gold and yellow-orange coloration, with beautiful eye appeal. At first glance one wonders why the coin did not achieve a Gem grade, but perusal with a loupe reveals the few light, undistracting abrasions that appear to define the grade. Census: 62 in 64, 6 finer (12/07).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GL, PCGS# 9190)
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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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