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Lustrous, Near-Gem 1929 Double Eagle--A Key to the Late-Date Saint-Gaudens Series

1929 $20 MS64 PCGS. The year 1929 is a significant one, both for numismatics as well as American history. The stock market crashed in October of that year, and this was also the beginning of the end of readily available gold coins in the U.S. The only common gold coin produced after this year was the 1932 ten dollar. The Great Depression bottomed out in 1932-1933, and it is probably not coincidental that with unemployment at historic highs during this period, Americans did not have any significant need for twenty dollar gold pieces. And yet, these large-value coins continued to be produced, almost as if by habit left over from the prosperous years of the 1920s. From 1929 through 1933, mintages varied from a low of 74,000 pieces in 1930 to almost 3 million coins for the 1931-P. The vast majority of these coins were not needed in the channels of commerce and most were melted under the Gold Recall Act of 1933.
In 1929 there were almost 1.8 million double eagles produced, but few were sent to Europe as in previous years. The coins held in this country were melted in the 1930s, and the only sizable hoard of this date was a group of 40 coins that Jeff Garrett discovered in England in 1984. Today, fewer than 300 pieces have been certified in all grades, and while this hoard of 40 coins may have increased the overall availability of the 1929 it has not made this date significantly more accessible (or affordable) in the better grades of Uncirculated.
This coin is an exceptionally attractive near-Gem 1929 twenty. The surfaces show the usual rich mint frost with an overlay of reddish-orange patina and lilac accents in the center. While alloy spots are often seen on this issue, this particular coin shows none on either side. The striking details are strongly brought up on both obverse and reverse, and there are no singularly mentionable abrasions on this memorable, late-date twenty.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GL, PCGS# 9190)

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Auction Dates
November, 2006
29th-30th Wednesday-Thursday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 4
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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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