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    1931-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS64
    Elusive 'Late-Date Saint'
    Final Denver Mint Gold Issue

    1931-D $20 MS64 PCGS. The final five collectible issues of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series (excluding the uncollectible 1933) form an interesting subset known to collectors as the "Late-Date Saints." All of these issues (1929, 1930-S, 1931, 1931-D, and 1932) were produced during the Great Depression, a time when there was no demand for twenty dollar gold coins in the shrinking economy. The coins were produced as currency reserves, or to satisfy U.S. laws requiring the conversion of a certain percentage of gold bullion and foreign gold coins received by the Treasury into U.S. coinage. The great majority of double eagles struck after 1929 was held in Mint or Treasury vaults until the the Gold Recall of 1933 took effect. Afterward, the coins were melted into gold bars and stored as gold reserves at Fort Knox. As a result, all the "Late-Date Saints" are rare issues today, with the 1930-S considered the rarest and the 1929 the most common.

    In the case of the 1931-D, the number reportedly produced was 106,500 coins. Only a tiny fraction of this mintage was ever available to coin collectors, and no coins were sent to Federal Reserve Banks or released into circulation. The 1931-D was at one time considered equally as rare as the 1930-S. David Akers' updated the situation in his Handbook of 20th Century United States Gold Coins:

    "Until a small hoard of approximately 15-20 pieces entered the market in the early 1980s, the 1931-D was virtually identical to the 1930-S in both overall and high-grade rarity. Now, however, the 1931-D is more similar to the 1931 and 1932 in terms of total number of coins known. The hoard contained coins that grade only MS-60 to MS-64, however, with the result that the 1931-D is still nearly as rare as the 1930-S in high grades. A few premium-quality Gems have survived, none of which has a distinct advantage over the others as finest known."

    This is not to say that the present 1931-D in near-Gem condition is anything but strictly rare, and this piece is certainly a coin that any advanced collector would be thrilled to own. PCGS has certified only 33 pieces in this grade (2 in 64+), with 23 numerically finer--as always, minus an unknown number of resubmissions and crossovers (10/18). The delightful reddish-orange surfaces radiate vibrant mint luster on both sides. Only a few wispy marks are evident, in particular a small scrape from Liberty's midsection out into the left obverse field, which appears to account for the near-Gem grade. The strike is bold, with just a touch of softness on the Capitol, perhaps due to die filling, as the star in the center of the building is quite sharp. A remarkably attractive example of this storied issue.
    Ex: Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2010), lot 2369.
    From The HBC Collection. (Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 26GP, PCGS# 9193)

    Weight: 33.44 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

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

    View all of [The HBC Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 364

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) 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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