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Gem 1932 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
Rare Late-Date Issue
High Quality and Outstanding Eye Appeal

1932 $20 MS65 PCGS Secure. The 1932 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is a fabulous coin that combines the appeal of aesthetic beauty with the thrill of absolute rarity. As a date, experts consider the 1932 the most attractive issue of the rare late-date Saints, with only the 1930-S as a serious challenger. As David Akers states in his Handbook of 20th Century United States Gold Coins:

"High-grade 1932 double eagles are exceptionally attractive coins with outstanding luster and color. The 1932 is superior in this regard to all other late-date issues in this series with the possible exception of the 1930-S."

As to rarity, numismatists of the 1930s and 1940s believed the 1932 was the rarest of the later dates, and often paid significant premiums to secure an example of the 1932 when it was offered at auction with specimens of the other issues. In recent years, this perception has changed, and even the experts are divided in their estimates of relative rarity among the later dates of the series. Q. David Bowers (2004) estimates a surviving population of 60-80 pieces of the 1932, placing it ahead of the 1929, 1931, and 1931-D, and trailing only the 1930-S in the rarity rankings of collectible late-date double eagles. David Akers postulates an extant population of 75-95 examples, placing the 1932 squarely in the middle of the rankings, rarer than the 1929 and 1931-D but more available than the 1930-S and 1931 issues. A search of auction records over the last 20 years seems to support Bowers' position, as the 1932 has appeared less often than the 1929, 1931, and 1931-D. On the other hand, population data from the grading services favors Akers' theory, as the 1932 has significantly more submission events than the 1931 and 1931-D. In our opinion, the last three dates of the series are of nearly equal rarity, while the 1930-S is clearly the rarest date and the 1929 is the easiest to locate.
The disparity between the high number of submission events and the relatively low number of auction appearances for the 1932 is probably the result of the issue's general high quality. We suspect the attractive appearance of many 1932 double eagles has influenced their owners to submit them to the grading services multiple times, seeking higher numeric grades for their specimens. At the same time, the owners are less likely to try to improve their extraordinary, high-quality coins at auction (and subsequently offer their duplicate pieces in other auctions), thus accounting for the relatively low total of auction appearances of the 1932. No matter what the exact position the 1932 occupies in the final rarity tables, the date is undeniably one of the most elusive and beautiful issues of this storied series.
The present coin is a delightful Gem, with razor-sharp details throughout. Fine definition is present on the Capitol building and Liberty's facial features. The fields exhibit remarkably smooth surfaces, with only the most minor contact marks visible on close inspection. The surfaces are a vivid greenish-gold, with red patina in the centers and vibrant frosty mint luster. Eye appeal is extraordinary. Population: 30 in 65, 8 finer (3/11).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GR, PCGS# 9194)

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Auction Dates
Apr-May, 2011
27th-1st Wednesday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 12
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,395

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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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