Rare and Outstanding 1930-S Double Eagle1930-S $20 MS66 PCGS. Ex: Price. Apparently, all but a few handfuls of the 74,000-piece mintage of 1930-S double eagles were melted, with the surviving coins probably obtained directly from the Mint in 1930. Walter Breen, in his Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, asserts that: "Possibly 25 survive, almost all Unc. with bag marks; most came from European banks about 1960." David Akers, in his 1998 catalog of the Dr. Thaine Price Collection, estimates 50 to 60 pieces to be extant (see below). This latter estimate is in line with PCGS/NGC population figures, that show slightly more than 50 certified coins that reveal a modal grade of MS64.
Akers sheds light on the 1930-S double eagle rarity level in the Price catalog: "...the 1930-S is one of the greatest rarities in this ever popular series. Since virtually all of the relatively few known specimens are mint state, it is obvious that this issue never saw actual circulation, and it is more than likely that the entire mintage (74,000 pieces, very small by Saint-Gaudens standards) was melted. The specimens that exist today were, in all probability, obtained by collectors or visitors directly from the Mint in the year of issue. In terms of the total number of specimens known, there are undoubtedly fewer 1930-S double eagles than there are examples of any collectible regular issue in this series other than the 1927-D. In other words, all grades considered, there are more examples of the 1920-S, 1921, 1927-S, 1931, 1931-D, and 1932 around than there are examples of the 1930-S. This is in contrast to its relative rarity ranking of 50 years ago when the 1930-S was considered to be only the fourth rarest S Mint issue of the series after the 1924-S, 1926-S and 1927-S. It was also felt to be significantly less rare than the 1926-D, 1921, and the 1931-D. It is difficult to say for sure, but the total number of 1930-S double eagles known is probably in the range of only 50-60 pieces. Some are quite nice with Choice and Very Choice Uncirculated being perhaps the most typically encountered grades, but true Gems...are of extreme rarity with no more than 6-8 such examples known."
The 1930-S we offer in this sale comes out of the above-mentioned Thaine Price Collection. We quote some of Akers' remarks in his cataloging of the Price specimen (lot 119): "This is a fabulous coin, at least equal to any I have ever seen, maybe even the finest, with its only rivals being the gorgeous Gem from Stack's March 1991 sale, lot 1221, and the coin from the Museum of Connecticut History sold by Heritage as lot 6031 in June 1995...The surfaces...have just a very slight natural haze, a hallmark of the coin's originality and the fact that it has never been cleaned, dipped or otherwise tampered with in anyway...When I purchased this coin for Dr. Price in the late 1980's, it had been off the market for more than 40 years. I...showed it to several dealer friends who are experts in this series, and their reaction was uniformly one of amazement at the beauty and phenomenal quality of the coin; all agreed that they had never seen another 1930-S double eagle quite like it."
To Akers' fitting overview of this wonderful Premium Gem, we add the following. Both faces are enlivened with dazzling luster that radiates from richly colored orange-gold surfaces that are interspersed, especially on the reverse, with splashes of mint-green. A well executed strike has resulted in crisp definition on the intricately-designed panes on the Capitol building, on Liberty's face, fingers, and toes, on the olive branch, and on the eagle's plumage. All in all, an outstanding example of this classic rarity. Population: 5 in 66, 0 finer (11/06).
From The Kutasi Collection.(Registry values: N1) (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.
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