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Choice 1929 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
Scarce, Late-Date Prize
Rare in Higher Grades

1929 $20 MS64 PCGS. The 1929 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is the first of the rare "late-date" issues of the series. Every coin in this group (1929, 1930-S, 1931, 1931-D, 1932, and, of course, the uncollectible 1933) is a major rarity. Today, numismatists believe the 1929 is the most available issue of this group, but it is still quite scarce in lower Mint State grades and a formidable rarity in Gem condition. In fact, the 1929 is more difficult to locate in higher grades than the 1931 and 1932. David Akers estimates 175-230 examples survive in all Mint State grades, with 75-100 coins in MS64.
The 1929 double eagle seems to have surfaced later than most other dates in the series, and numismatists of the 1940s regarded the issue as a rarity of the first magnitude. In the Charles W. Green Collection (Mehl, 4/1949), the cataloger noted:

"1929 Uncirculated with full mint luster. Just the very slightest evidence of having been handled with other coins but, of course, the coin has never been in circulation. A beautifully sharp struck specimen. While the coin catalogs at $250.00, but I unhesitatingly class the coin as extremely rare, far more so than is generally realized. This is the first specimen I have offered in my Sales. Such great collections as the Roach, Atwater and others did not have it. There have only been three or four offered at auction in all. The coin has an auction record of $290.00. I believe it to be as rare as the 1921."

Fortunately for modern collectors, small quantities of 1929 double eagles have surfaced in European holdings over the years. Jeff Garrett reports purchasing a group of 10 coins in the 1990s, and other small accumulations have turned up occasionally. While the 1929 is still beyond the reach of most collectors, it is not in the "impossible" category any more. David Akers considers the 1929 the 11th-rarest coin of the 53-coin series.
The present coin is an impressive Near-Gem, with a razor-sharp strike and vibrant, frosty mint luster. The light, greenish-gold surfaces are attractive and minimally abraded for the grade. A few handling marks in the left obverse field and one below the eagle's beak on the reverse are the only flaws of note. Housed in an old green label holder. Population: 81 in 64, 26 finer (6/10).
From The Dr. Brandon Smith Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GL, PCGS# 9190)

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Auction Dates
August, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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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