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    1914 Twenty Dollar, MS66+
    The Finest PCGS Coin

    1914 $20 MS66+ PCGS Secure. CAC. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated, sparking the Great War, known today as World War I. The Serbian government was implicated in that event, and one month later, July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia backed Serbia, and Germany backed Austria-Hungary. Soon, France and Great Britain were involved in the war, which was still centered in Europe. Japan soon also declared war on Germany and a year later, Italy joined the fracas. The United States remained neutral until forced to enter the conflict in 1917 after German submarine warfare threatened American commercial shipping.
    Despite the U.S. position of neutrality, the economy slowed and the need for gold coinage dwindled as world economies shifted and available gold remained in bank vaults. Just 2 million double eagles were coined at all three mints in 1914, including only 95,250 at Philadelphia, the lowest annual production of any Saint-Gaudens double eagle at that mint. PCGS has certified more than 2,000 1914 double eagles, but only 46 of those submissions grade less than AU58, indicating with virtual certainty that this issue never circulated at the time of production.
    The Heritage Permanent Auction Archives, begun in January 1993, list just 136 offerings of the 1914 Saint-Gaudens double eagle, exclusively in grades from AU58 to MS65. Those offerings include 119 appearances in grades from MS62 to MS64, and only one example less than MS60. The PCGS data and Heritage auction data indicate that most of the mintage was exported to Europe or the Southern Hemisphere. Enough survive that it is unlikely many remained in Treasury vaults to be melted in the 1930s.
    Surviving examples in Gem or finer grades are rarities, with only 36 MS65 PCGS-certified examples and only three pieces graded MS66, including only one MS66+, the Duckor specimen (10/11). In A Handbook of 20th-Century United States Gold Coins 1907-1933, published in 1988, David Akers wrote:

    "In all respects, both total population-wise and condition-wise, the 1914 is very similar in rarity to the 1911 and 1915. In MS-60 to 62 condition, the 1914 can be obtained with only a little difficulty. However, even at the MS-63 level, this issue is rather rare, and better than that it is extremely difficult to find. A small number of gems are known, however, and I have seen two and perhaps a third that were distinctly better than MS-65, possibly even grading a full MS-67."

    The current PCGS population data closely mirrors Akers' comments written 23 years ago. The finest-known Duckor specimen exhibits deep reddish-gold color with faint lilac accents on the obverse and is close to a full strike. Minor obverse marks are evident, the largest of which is a small diagonal nick on Liberty's outstretched arm near the elbow. The reverse has similar coloration and an equal paucity of singular contact.
    Ex: Heritage Auctions.

    David Akers Comments:
    Among the 54 issues of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series, the 1914 had the sixth lowest mintage after the High Relief, 1908-S, 1913-S, 1909-D and 1930-S in that order. These six issues are, in fact, the only ones in the series with mintages lower than 100,000 pieces. Since only the 1930-S in this low mintage group is considered one of the major Saint-Gaudens double eagle rarities today, this only shows how unreliable mintage figures are in determining rarity, especially so in this series where few dates circulated after World War I and were largely stored by the government and later melted in the mid- to late 1930's. Among the nine early P-Mint issues from the 1908 With Motto to the 1915, the 1914 is in the middle of the pack rarity-wise. It is easily obtainable in any mint state grade short of the gem levels and even gem MS65 specimens, though certainly rare, do come on the market from time to time. At the gem level, the 1914 is more or less on a par with the 1911, 1912 and 1915, less rare than the 1909, 1909/8 and 1913, and more rare than the 1908 With Motto and 1910. Superb examples grading MS66 are extremely rare with only 3-5 specimens known with this Duckor specimen the highest graded at MS66+ and quite likely the finest known. It is the only one graded with a (+) designation. Like the 1912, which is a little less rare in superb condition than the 1914, the 1914 is more rare in MS66 than the 1929, 1931 and 1932 and is even on a par with the 1930-S and 1931-D at this grade level.
    From The Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Collection.
    Seller is donating a portion of their proceeds, and Heritage is donating the same portion of the Buyer's Premium, from the sale of this lot to the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. See page 3 for details.(Registry values: N1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26FS, PCGS# 9164)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [Additional Selections from The Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Collection ]

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2012
    4th-8th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,024

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse and Steven Duckor Collections
    Revised Edition by Roger Burdette, and edited by James L. Halperin and Mark Van Winkle

    Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles is an issue-by-issue examination of this 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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