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Description

Appealing MS63 1931-D Double Eagle

1931-D $20 MS63 PCGS. British economist John Maynard Keynes coined "the paradox of thrift" to describe how the Great Depression deepened after 1929, when the stock market initially took a huge tumble. The term describes how people who decide to save more contribute to people ultimately saving less. People conserve their money, markets become saturated with goods, and prices deflate as companies lower prices to move inventory. Businesses also decide to save money based on their negative outlook. They curtail production and lay off workers. This launches a dangerous cycle: Less investment creates fewer jobs, less consumption, and even less reason for new business investments. More unemployment means social misery, and the economy reaches equilibrium at levels far below full employment. This is the paradox: High unemployment reduces incomes, and people who decided to save more end up with much less saved.
The Mint responded to these woeful economic conditions by curtailing production of most coins, since there was little demand for them. Only "small change" was made (cents, nickels, and dimes)--and double eagles. Those piece were made primarily for export, however--many average Americans could not afford the price of a tank of gasoline. Few, if any, of the 1931-D double eagles left the Treasury vaults, and most were later melted into ingots.
Gold expert David Akers at one time rated the 1931-D as the fourth rarest in the Saint-Gaudens series, but in 1984 a small hoard of 15-20 pieces was uncovered. Today the '31-D is still a rare date: Both services together have certified a total of 134 pieces in Mint State, most of them in the range of MS60 to MS63. The present example offers lustrous, orange-gold surfaces with a satiny finish. The strike is bold and crisp, and the mintmark is deeply punched into the die. A couple of patches of light abrasions on each side of Liberty are noted, but those abrasions are consistent with the grade. This is an extremely appealing and collectible example of this rare date.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GP, PCGS# 9193)

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Auction Dates
August, 2006
13th-14th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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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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