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Description

Choice 1931-D Saint-Gaudens Twenty
With Light Greenish-Gold Surfaces

1931-D $20 MS64 PCGS. CAC. The 1931-D is the second-rarest Saint-Gaudens double eagle from the Denver Mint, behind the legendary 1927-D. Only 106,500 double eagles were coined at Denver in 1931, and the 1931-D is considered the eighth-rarest date in the 53-coin series today. In A Handbook of 20th Century United States Gold Coins, David Akers recalls that 30 years ago the 1931-D was a serious challenger to the 1930-S for the title of rarest late-date Saint-Gaudens twenty. A small hoard of 15-20 pieces surfaced in the early 1980s, however, raising the availability of the 1931-D to about the same level as the 1931 and 1932 issues. Today, experts believe perhaps 95-110 examples survive in Mint State, with only a handful known in circulated grades. In higher Mint State grades, the 1931-D is quite rare.
Possibly the first auction appearance of the issue was in Sale Number 399 (Morgenthau, 5/1939), lot 557. Wayte Raymond and J.G. Macallister were the proprietors of the Morgenthau firm, and their catalogs were famous for their terse commentary. The lot description read simply, "1931 D Uncirculated and extremely
rare." If this was indeed the first offering of this date, it proved an
auspicious beginning. The lot realized $130, a significant sum for a coin that could be purchased for face value only six years before. Today, auction appearances of a 1931-D are noteworthy events. When a magnificent MS66 PCGS coin was offered in lot 2132 of the Baltimore Signature Auction (Heritage, 7/2008), it realized $253,000.
The present coin is an attractive Choice Mint State example, with light greenish-gold surfaces highlighted by blushes of rose. The strike details are sharp throughout, and the surfaces are minimally abraded for the grade. The CAC sticker confirms the outstanding eye appeal of this piece. Housed in an old green label holder. Population: 34 in 64, 17 finer (6/10).
From The Dr. Brandon Smith Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GP, PCGS# 9193)

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Auction Dates
August, 2010
11th-15th
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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