1930-S Double Eagle, MS65
1930-S $20 MS65 PCGS. The 1930-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle
is now recognized as one of the rarest dates of the regular-issue
series, trailing only the uncollectible 1933 and the ultra-rare
1927-D in absolute terms. However, the true rarity of the 1930-S
has only become apparent in fairly recent times. In the late 1930s
and early 1940s, when collecting double eagles first became
popular, the 1930-S was largely overlooked by contemporary
collectors, who believed other dates like the 1924-S, 1926-D, and
1926-S were much more elusive. While the 1930-S claims a smaller
reported mintage than any of those dates, its rarity is mostly due
to its pattern of distribution.
One of the Key Issues to the Saint-Gaudens Series
Double eagles were not needed in the national economy in 1930, as the Great Depression severely reduced the need for all circulating coinage. The San Francisco Mint did not strike double eagles until October of that year, when the entire mintage of just 74,000 pieces was delivered. The coins were apparently intended to serve as currency reserves, and only 3,250 examples were actually released into circulation through official channels. In the summer of 1932, the Treasury Department published a list of 16 gold issues from previous years that were available for purchase by collectors at face value plus postage. The 1930-S was included in the list, indicating that a large number of coins were still on hand in Treasury vaults at that time. Most of these coins were still there when the Gold Recall of 1933 took effect. The great majority of the small mintage was later melted and stored in the form of gold ingots in the Fort Knox Bullion Repository. Probably no more than 60-70 specimens survive today in all grades, and nearly all examples seen are in Mint State.
The 1930-S began to climb in the rarity rankings in the 1950s, when examples of many other dates, including the 1924-S, 1926-D, and 1926-S, began to surface in European banks, where they had been safely out of reach of the government recall. Unfortunately for present-day collectors, few examples of the 1930-S had been used in international trade, and the only reported find of this issue in European holdings was a small group of four coins that Paul Wittlin sold to John Ford in 1960. As the supply of other rare dates began to grow over the years, the relative rarity of the 1930-S was gradually recognized. Recognition came slowly, however, and as late as 1982 David Akers still believed the 1931-D was a more challenging issue than the 1930-S. Today, series specialists all acknowledge the rarity of the 1930-S, but the coin remains something of a "sleeper" in the minds of most numismatists.
The surfaces on this example display the usually seen thick mint frost. The color is uniform orange-gold with no observable greenish-gold accents, as seen on many examples. The strike details are sharp over each side, and there are no reportable abrasions. Population: 10 in 65 (1 in 65+), 5 finer (2/14).
From the Collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation.(Registry values: N10218) (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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