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    Description

    Formidably Rare 1920-S Double Eagle, MS64

    1920-S $20 MS64 PCGS. In 1920, the mints in both Philadelphia and San Francisco struck double eagles, the first since the production of the 1916-S coins. Philadelphia produced roughly a quarter-million coins, while San Francisco made more than a half-million. But while the 1920-P is common up to the MS64 level, the 1920-S is rare in all grades. Today, it is considered a classic rarity in a series that abounds with them. Unlike some later dates where repatriations from overseas have replenished the supplies of once-rare issues, no hoards of 1920-S coins have ever been discovered in international holdings. One of the latest references on the Saint-Gaudens series, David Akers' Handbook of 20th Century United States Gold Coins, proposes:

    "The 1920-S is one of the prime rarities in the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle series, if not in the entire 20th century U.S. gold series. In fact, it is the rarest collectible Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle after only the 1927-D, 1930-S and 1921. The 1920-S is actually rarer than the 1927-D and 1930-S in high grades. Virtually the entire mintage was destroyed during the gold recall of the 1930s--the first of several Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles from the 1920s and 1930s to suffer this fate. The majority of survivors fall somewhere in the Choice AU to MS-64 grade range. High-grade examples, of which there are very few, were almost certainly obtained at the time of issue by collectors who had close ties to Mint or other government officials."

    There are a few high-grade examples of the 1920-S known today. The average grade for certified survivors at NGC and PCGS, however, is near-Mint State, or AU58--meaning that one certified AU55 exists for every MS61. In MS64, the grade of the present coin, PCGS has certified 10 examples, with five finer--three MS65s and two MS66s (8/09). NGC has certified 13 pieces in MS64, with two MS65s the finest--and it is almost a certainly that some of those figures represent the same coins crossing from one service to another, or resubmissions.
    Regardless of the exact number of high-Mint State specimens known, it is a truism that the number of advanced gold collectors is far greater than the limited population. One data point should serve to support that assertion: There are currently 67 different PCGS Registry Sets listed in the complete Saint-Gaudens Circulation Strikes collection at PCGS--of which 18 are more than 50% complete, with an average weighted GPA of nearly MS63. Not for the faint of heart, the circulation strikes Saint-Gaudens series is one in which an obsessive need for completeness demands patient searching--and deep, deep pockets.
    The typical 1920-S is poorly struck, but the present example displays strong, if less than complete definition. The texture is frosty, with swirling, moderate-intensity luster around both sides. A pleasant mixture of reddish-gold and pink-gold patina has gathered over the years. A few minor marks are seen overall, with several small rim nicks visible on the reverse. One in particular, above the final A of AMERICA, will serve as a future identifier. This is a coin whose rarity and Condition Census standing are as impressive as its technical merits. Population: 10 in 64, 5 finer (8/09).
    From The Vegas Collection.(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 26FZ, PCGS# 9171)

    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 [The Vegas Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2009
    10th-13th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 7,626

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
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    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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