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Choice Mint State 1931-D Double Eagle

1931-D $20 MS64 PCGS. Even many of the most advanced collections are lacking an example of the 1931-D Saint-Gaudens double eagle. And specialized cabinets can be considered among the best collections ever formed if an example of this issue is included. The Phillip H. Morse Collection, for example, contained multiple examples of many different issues: three each of 1920-S, 1921, 1927-S, and 1931, but just one 1931-D.
As the country was in the middle of the Great Depression, few coins of any denomination were made. Aside from the double eagles coined in Philadelphia and Denver, only cents, nickels, and dimes were coined, indicating the greatest need for the smallest denominations. The combined output of all three mints, including San Francisco, was just $928,420 face value in small coins. In addition to these pieces, Philadelphia coined nearly 3 million double eagles and Denver struck 106,500 double eagles, the latter figure among the smaller production totals of the entire series.
Over the years, various estimates have been shared regarding the number of surviving 1931-D double eagles. Among recent estimates, Walter Breen suggested a total of only 30 to 35 survivors, including the 20 pieces found in a 1984 coin hoard. More recently, Dave Bowers estimates that 100 to 150 pieces are known today, a figure that is probably quite realistic.
This example is a splendid near-Gem specimen with soft-frosty yellow-gold luster and delectable pinkish toning and faint traces of subtle blue accents. The surfaces are exceptional for the grade, only a few marks shy of Gem, and the overall eye appeal is high. Population: 37 in 64, 18 finer (12/06).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GP, PCGS# 9193)

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Auction Dates
February, 2007
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 10
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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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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