1908-S Saint-Gaudens Twenty, MS66
1908-S $20 MS66 NGC. CAC. The year 1908 marked a transition
in the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series -- the motto IN GOD WE
TRUST was added to the reverse in late 1908 at the insistence of
the U.S. Congress. That body, along with the general American
population, disagreed with President Theodore Roosevelt's
contention that God's name should be omitted from U.S. coinage
because of its blasphemous connotation. Consequently, Congress
passed legislation in mid-1908 that mandated the motto appear on
all coins large enough to accommodate it.
Phenomenal Example of This Popular Issue
In addition to its status as a transition design type and as the first San Francisco Mint Saint-Gaudens twenty dollar, the 1908-S boasts the lowest mintage in the series (22,000 pieces), trailing only the Ultra High Relief and the High Relief. As with many San Francisco dates, a considerable number of 1908-S twenties entered the channels of commerce, evidenced by about twice as many circulated pieces known than those in Uncirculated grades. In this regard, NGC and PCGS have graded, to date (7/11), a total of about 900 1908-S double eagles, roughly 600 in circulated grades and 300 Mint State coins. Most Uncirculated examples are concentrated in the MS60 to near-Gem range. Gem and finer specimens are quite rare.
Small to large hoards of 1908-S twenties are rumored to exist. Walter Breen, in his 1988 Encyclopedia states: "The report of a bag of 1,000 found in Central America has not yet been confirmed." David Bowers (2004), on the other hand, writes: "Thanks to the importations of the current generation, such coins (MS62-64) are much more available (today) than they were prior to the 1980s." Exceptional mint luster is the rule for the 1908-S, and that characteristic is abundantly evident on this coin. The surfaces are bright and frosted with even yellow-gold color. The striking details are complete, and the central figures of Liberty and the eagle are mark-free. Census: 6 in 66, 0 finer (5/11).
From The Oliver Collection.(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 26FA, PCGS# 9149)
Weight: 33.44 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
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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.
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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