1926-D Double Eagle, Conditionally Rare MS641926-D $20 MS64 PCGS. During the 1940s, the 1926-D Saint-Gaudens double eagle was considered one of the rarest dates of the 20th century gold series, and the issue is still much more elusive than the reported mintage of 481,000 pieces would suggest. Most of the mintage was stored in government vaults and banking facilities, and later melted after the Gold Recall of 1933. Only a few coins were saved for numismatic purposes.
Early auction appearances were few-and-far-between and contemporary numismatists believed the 1926-D was even more elusive than other great rarities, like its 1927-D counterpart and the Ultra High Relief issue of 1907. When B. Max Mehl cataloged an example in lot 916 of the Dr. Charles W. Green Collection in April of 1945, he noted:
"1926 Denver Mint Double Eagle. Uncirculated with mint luster. Only in the recent few years has the real rarity of this coin been recognized. In 1944 this coin was cataloged for only $100.00: In 1946 it was cataloged for $200.00, and now it is cataloged at $1,000. The rarity of this coin may well be surmised from the fact that none of the great collections of Double Eagles offered on the market in the last few years had a specimen in it. Such great collections as the Bell, "The World's Greatest" and others. This is the first specimen ever to be offered at auction."
Of course, the 1926-S was not quite as rare as Mehl believed, and an example actually was offered in lot 1044 of the World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946), which he somehow overlooked. A few more coins surfaced in European banks in the 1950s, where they had been sheltered out of reach of the U.S. government recall, but only a small number ever turned up in this manner. Although the 1926-D eventually slipped from the apex of the rarity charts, it is still the fourth rarest date of the series in high grade.
The present coin is an impressive Choice example, with well-detailed design elements that show just a touch of the usual softness on the lower obverse. The pleasing orange and reddish-gold surfaces show only minor signs of contact and vibrant mint luster adds to the outstanding eye appeal. Population: 22 in 64 (1 in 64+), 5 finer (4/14).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GE, PCGS# 9184)
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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