1921 Saint-Gaudens Twenty, MS60
1921 $20 MS60 NGC. Two significant economic shocks
contributed to the famous "melt rarities" that appear late in the
Saint-Gaudens double eagle series. While the Great Depression is
the well-known culprit involved in the issues of the late 1920s and
early 1930s, two less-known economic setbacks immediately following
World War I were at work for a pair of low-availability issues, the
1920-S and the 1921. After the end of World War I, many combatant
nations experienced a degree of economic recession as wartime
production wound down and veterans returned to the labor pool. The
United States had a brief recovery but experienced a depression for
18 months from January 1920 to July 1921.
One of the Great Rarities in the Series
The double eagle was functionally an international trade coin by 1914, when World War I broke out, and with submarine warfare threatening transatlantic shipping channels, it is little surprise that the double eagle went on hiatus. Philadelphia stopped making the denomination in 1915, with San Francisco following the next year. Double eagle production restarted in 1920 but ran right into the worsening economic conditions. While a number of Philadelphia double eagles from 1920 went into the stream of global commerce, the 1920-S and 1921 issues found little such usage, and when demand came again for twenties, the coins paid out were 1922 and 1922-S instead of their predecessors. As a result, the 1920-S and 1921 double eagles remained in government hands and were the earliest dates to suffer near-total destruction in the melting pots.
This piece displays even, although slightly subdued mint luster, and similarly even reddish-gold color. Relatively few marks account for the grade. The 1921 is a prize in any grade and this Uncirculated example will surely be the centerpiece of an advanced collection. Census: 2 in 60, 37 finer (2/14).
From the Collection of Donald E. Bently, sold for the benefit of the Bently Foundation.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26G2, PCGS# 9172)
Weight: 33.44 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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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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