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    Description

    1931 Twenty Dollar, Lustrous MS63
    Famous Late-Series Melt Rarity

    1931 $20 MS63 NGC. By 1931, double eagles circulated little in the United States. The Federal Reserve System had been in place since 1913, and commerce preferred paper currency. However, gold certificates required a large backing of coined gold in reserve, which prompted large mintages of the double eagle through the Great Depression years. Foreign trade was also a significant drain on the United States' gold reserves, having been active since the end of the World War. Throughout most of the 1920s, the United States maintained a net export of gold through trading with Europe and South America. But during the Great Depression, more gold was imported into the U.S. than was exported. While earlier issues were heavily exported, the 1931 double eagle was never tapped into for trade purposes. According to Mint vault records acquired by Roger Burdette, the Mint still had all but 500 coins sealed in bags in June 1933; none had ever been distributed to Federal Reserve Banks. All of these coins were later melted.

    Of the remaining 500 pieces, 158 were destroyed via assay testing, and another 32 were transferred from the Treasurer to the Philadelphia Mint Cashier "for melting," according to research by Roger Burdette. This leaves a total of 310 1931 double eagles that were possibly acquired by the public between 1931 and 1933. Today, it is believed that only about 110 examples of this melt rarity survive.

    The few examples of this issue known are actively traded at auction, as late-date Saints are among the most sought-after of all 20th century gold issues. Since this issue never circulated meaningfully, the majority of the survivorship is in Mint State, which forces collectors to anticipate strong bids at auction. This Select example is in a grade for which many collectors can strive. Luster is original, and the orange-gold cartwheel effect is interrupted only by minor contact marks. Eye appeal is pleasing for the grade. Census: 5 in 63, 26 finer (6/18).(Registry values: N7079)

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 26GN, PCGS# 9192)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


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

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    14th-19th Tuesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 420

    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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