Frosty Gem 1929 Double Eagle
1929 $20 MS65 PCGS. There are many U.S. coins that are so
rare it is difficult to track down concrete information on exactly
how many pieces exist, to say nothing of how many of those existing
pieces are actually separate, certified individual coins without
duplication. Only the most notable U.S. coins--the 1913 Liberty
nickels, the 1894-S dimes, the 1804 silver dollars--have documented
censuses that are so well-researched that we can say with
certainty, "Only five pieces exist" or "Only 15 are known."
Seldom Seen Finer
There is a broad second tier of U.S. coinage, however, where information is woefully lacking--coins that are suspected of being rare to a greater or lesser degree, but where the exact degree of rarity is open to debate, speculation, and varying interpretations of the "facts" available.
The 1929 double eagle is definitely a member of that class.
When we were cataloging the Phillip H. Morse Collection in 2005, we wrote concerning his MS65 1929 double eagle:
"All of the series issues from this date forward are great rarities in the Saint-Gaudens series. Of those five collectible issues (1929, 1930-S, 1931, 1931-D, and 1932), the 1929 is the most obtainable in terms of overall availability. Higher grade (MS 63-64) coins are occasionally available, but Gems are rare."
Both services combined have certified 26 examples of the 1929 in MS65, with only six coins finer (3/10). But an examination of the Gem and higher certified populations at PCGS reveals that, in comparison to the later issues, that service has actually certified more examples of the 1931 and 1932 double eagles in MS65 than of the 1929--25 examples of the 1931, and 28 of the 1932, compared to only 22 Gem 1929s at PCGS. There are also fewer examples of the 1929 in MS66 at PCGS than of the other two issues--five of the 1929, compared to nine of the 1931 and eight of the 1932.
Rich mint luster cascades from both sides of this frosty Gem 1929 twenty. The surfaces are patinated in an exciting blend of orange-gold, lilac, and yellow-gold, and the few marks seen are consistent with a high-end Gem. The strike is bold, although light softness appears on the Capitol dome. An extremely appealing Gem specimen.
From The Carter Family Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GL, PCGS# 9190)
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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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