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1929 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS65
1929 $20 MS65 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Brahin/Browning. "Easily
comparable to the lovely Price example. This specimen can take its
place in the ranks of the best." Those were the comments about this
piece in the catalog of the Dallas Bank Collection. Our consigner
is also enamored of this coin, writing that "it is a complex
mirrored/satiny colorful coin that could easily be in a MS66 holder
and no one would consider it overgraded."
Only 25,170 Coins Released
The 1929 is the first issue in the group of late-date Saint-Gaudens double eagles that collectors have always regarded as major rarities. While its appearance in European hoards in recent years has made the issue more available than the other late dates, the 1929 is still a challenging issue in Mint State grades, especially at the Gem level. Indeed, David Akers believes the 1929 is rarer in high grades than the 1931 and 1932. In terms of absolute rarity, Akers rates the 1929 as the 11th rarest date in the 53 coin series, with a surviving population of 175-230 examples in Mint State grades. Other estimates of the total surviving population have ranged from a low of 60 coins to a high of 1,750 coins, but both of those extremes are entirely unrealistic. Nearly all known 1929 double eagles, like survivors of the other late dates through 1933, are found in lower Mint State grades. Circulated pieces are virtually non-existent. According to Akers, "most examples are noticeably abraded, although the occasional MS-64 with relatively smooth-looking surfaces is available. Exceptionally well-preserved 1929 Double Eagles are few and very far between."
Saint-Gaudens double eagles first attracted attention as a popular collecting discipline in the late 1930s. Early research by Dr. Charles E. Green revealed that only 25,170 double eagles had been released by the Philadelphia Mint in 1929. The rest of the large mintage of nearly 1.8 million pieces was destroyed after the Gold recall of 1933, explaining the rarity of the date today. When Green sold his holdings as the Dr. Charles W. Green Collection (B. Max Mehl, 4/1949), Mehl described the 1929 in lot 799 as:
"I unhesitatingly class the coin as extremely rare, far more so than is generally recognized. This is the first specimen that 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 at all. The coin has an auction record of $290.00. I believe it to be as rare as the 1921."
A group of about 80 coins surfaced in the 1980s, and another mini-hoard of 10 pieces was handled by Jeff Garrett in the early 1990s, increasing the availability of the 1929 to its present levels. NGC has certified four coins in MS65, with one finer; while PCGS has graded 22 specimens at the Gem level, with five finer (10/09). While it is not unusual to find a Choice MS64 example in a collection, Gems are seldom seen, even in the best collections. Here is an opportunity to acquire a remarkable Gem 1929 double eagle.
The present coin is sharply struck, with attractive and uniform brilliant yellow-gold surfaces and bright mint frost that forms shimmering satin luster. The reverse is accented by richly variegated shades of lilac, intermingled with subtle yellow and rose color. Its overall eye appeal is absolutely amazing.
Ex: Dallas Bank Collection (Sotheby's/Stack's, 10/2001), lot 209.
From The Jay Brahin Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GL, PCGS# 9190)
View all of [The Jay Brahin Collection ]
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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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