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    Key 1929 Saint-Gaudens Twenty, MS66
    One of the Finest Examples Known

    1929 $20 MS66 PCGS. CAC. Like so many other issues in this fabled and fabulous series, the 1929 Saint-Gaudens was once considered a major rarity, only to see its position somewhat eroded over time as the repatriations of overseas caches of coins occur. Today it is still a scarcity and expensive, but examples are available for a price, as nearly 300 examples are certified between NGC and PCGS. Most of those coins, in fact the vast majority, are MS64 or less, although the MS64 grade represents the bulk of the certified coinage for the issue. Between NGC and PCGS, 149 pieces fall into that near-Gem grade level. At the Gem or MS65 level the number certified plummets sharply, and in MS66 the total drops even more radically. There are 26 Gem pieces certified, and only six coins at both services combined have achieved the Premium Gem or MS66 level, including the present piece. All of the above totals, of course, almost certainly include unknown but considerable numbers of resubmissions.
    Bowers' Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins aptly calls the 1929 issue a "changing rarity in modern times," although we disagree with his lumping it with the common 1922-1928 Saint-Gaudens pieces when he says, "Now, many collections will end with the 1929 date instead of 1928 as formerly." Au contraire, we believe the 1929 date will always remain associated with the various legendary issues including the 1930-S, 1931, 1931-D, and 1932. While the latter pieces are notably rarer than the 1929, the association is apt for two reasons: First, because all of the group were issued during the Great Depression, and second, the 1929 is orders of magnitude rarer than the earlier Philadelphia Mint dates from 1922 to 1928.
    Bowers' estimate of 1,250 to 1,750 pieces extant also appears wildly optimistic, given the certified totals and the distant probability of many more examples remaining undiscovered. In The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse Collection, the authors note, "It seems highly unlikely that any sizeable quantity of an expensive coin such as the 1929 Saint could exist without being certified. Around 40 pieces were discovered in England in 1984, but we are not aware of any other sizeable holdings of this issue that have been uncovered recently."
    It is extremely telling and significant that the present MS66 specimen is even finer than either of the Morse Collection pieces, an MS65 that brought $97,750 and an MS64 that yielded $35,938 in the 2005 FUN Auction (Heritage, 11/2005, lots 6707-6708). In point of fact, this is one of only five MS66 pieces certified at PCGS, with a single MS66 at NGC, and there are none finer at either service (8/08).
    Exuberant cartwheel luster, more frosty than satiny, radiates from each side of this lovely coin. The centers are apricot-gold, while the peripheries on each side show tinges of mint-green. There are no singular abrasions on either side, and the strike is pleasingly bold. The latter characteristic is typical of the 1929 issue, which generally comes well struck. (Registry values: N1)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26GL, PCGS# 9190)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    View Certification Details from PCGS

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2008
    17th-21st Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,320

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $9) 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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