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1930-S Twenty, MS64
1930-S $20 MS64 PCGS. CAC. The 1930-S Saint-Gaudens double
eagle is the second-rarest collectible business-strike issue of the
series. Specialists have appreciated the rarity and importance of
the 1930-S since the 1950s, but it remains an underrated issue in
the minds of most numismatists today. The 1930-S has been
overshadowed by the tremendous success of other dates like the 1921
and the 1927-D, both of which have sold repeatedly for more than 1
million dollars. However, the place of the 1930-S in the series
hierarchy is becoming clearer, and we feel this date is due to shed
its "sleeper" role and join the other elite issues of the series
among the most valuable 20th century coins.
Rarest of the Late-Date Saints
The 1930-S was among the last of the great rarities in the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series to appear on the numismatic scene. A recent survey of 152 auction sales conducted by 14 different firms between the years 1935 and 1944 failed to find any appearance of the 1930-S before the J.F. Bell Collection (Stack's, 12/1944), lot 991. The famous Ultra High Relief and the vaunted 1927-D also made their first appearances in this sale, but all the other key dates appeared at auction on at least one occasion before this event. Even the currently uncollectible 1933 was offered nine months earlier, in the Flanagan Collection. The late emergence of the coin did not go entirely unnoticed at the time, as the lot realized $475, but it lagged far behind the prices realized by other dates that we know to be more available today, like the 1931-D which brought $1,100.
The elusive nature of the 1930-S became more apparent in the 1950s, when several hoards of double eagles surfaced in European banks. These finds included many dates that were previously considered extremely rare, but the 1930-S was not present in any of the holdings discovered in that period and its prestige increased accordingly. In fact, the only mention of the 1930-S being found in any foreign transactions that we are aware of was a group of four coins purchased by John Ford from Paul Wittlin in 1960. Obviously, this did little to alter the rarity ranking of the 1930-S in the long term, but it did have an immediate effect on the market price for the issue in the short term. Harvey Stack purchased all four of the coins from Ford, and when Stack's offered a specimen in lot 1041 of the Wolfson Collection in October of 1962 the cataloger noted:
"1930-S. Uncirculated, with full mint bloom. Very rare and seldom available. This is the rarest San Francisco Mint Double Eagle of the St. Gaudens design. Had it not been for the fact that a few were discovered in Europe two years ago, the 1930 'S' would be worth close to three times its present value. The last auction record for the coin was $1,650."
The lot realized a strong $1,700, indicating that the market effects of the mini-hoard were already dissipating. The 1930-S has enjoyed continued success at auction over the years, and finally passed the 1931-D in the rarity rankings when a small group of coins of that date appeared on the market in 1984. David Akers estimates only 40-55 examples of the 1930-S remain extant in Mint State grades, with only a few specimens known in circulated condition.
We feel that this issue is poised to take a big step up in the market, and the discerning collector should bid accordingly. When this coin was last offered at public auction 13 years ago, it was described as: "The richly frosted surfaces are a few inconspicuous bag marks away from an even higher grade and the strike is exceptionally strong. Pale green-gold highlights at select angles interrupt the otherwise orange-gold coloration on both sides."
Ex: Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/2000), lot 6942.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GM, PCGS# 9191)
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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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