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    Description

    1908-S Saint-Gaudens Twenty, MS66
    Low-Mintage Branch Mint Issue
    Rarely Seen This Fine

    1908-S $20 MS66 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Fox-Brahin. After the Arabic Numerals, No Motto variety went into circulation, legislation went before Congress to add the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to the new Saint-Gaudens double eagle design. Before the law went into effect, both Philadelphia and Denver struck No Motto twenties in 1908. San Francisco, by contrast, struck no double eagles in that year until the With Motto reverse dies were ready. The West Coast facility also suffered production problems because their coin presses did not have enough clearance to allow the new segmented edge collars to function properly. Even more difficulties arose when the coins did not stack properly. Much experimentation was needed before these difficulties were ironed out. Accordingly, the San Francisco Mint experienced significantly below-average production in 1908.

    With its mintage of just 22,000 pieces, a far cry from the 1907-S Liberty issue's production of over 2.1 million coins, the 1908-S has drawn collectors' attention for decades, and while lightly circulated and lesser Mint State pieces are somewhat available, Select and better coins are highly elusive. David Akers wrote in his landmark reference on the denomination: "With the sole exception of the 1907 High Relief, the 1908-S has the lowest mintage of any regular issue Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. Therefore, it is not surprising that the 1908-S is a scarce date in all grades."

    Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth note that as a rule, 1908-S double eagles " ... are awash in satiny luster and decent strikes." One glance at this Premium Gem survivor, with its swirling, bold mint luster and generally strong detail, reinforces this impression. The obverse is orange-gold with occasional pink-gold accents, while the reverse has pale straw and wheat coloration. A carefully preserved and elegant representative of this challenging and desirable issue. Population: 13 in 66 (3 in 66+), 4 finer. CAC: 10 in 66, 3 finer (12/19).
    Ex: Jay Brahin; Carter Family Collection: Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2010), lot 2341, realized $86,250; Rollo Fox Collection.

    David Akers (2012) Comments:

    This issue has the second lowest mintage figure of any regular issue Saint-Gaudens double eagle after the 1907 MCMVII High Relief. This low mintage figure, only 22,000 pieces, undoubtedly contributed to the esteem in which the 1908-S was held throughout the 1940s, 1950s and forward to the present day. At one time it was considered to be at the low end of the fourth tier of Saint-Gaudens double eagle rarity which also consisted of the 1920-S, 1922-S, 1924-D, 1925-S and the late date P-Mints 1929, 1931, and 1932. When offered for sale at auction, all of these issues typically realized only in the $200-$400 price range. Unlike almost all of the double eagle issues minted after World War I, the 1908-S issue was intended and used for general circulation. That is why a much larger percentage of known specimens of the 1908-S are in circulated grades than is the case with other prized dates of the series. Although less rare than the low mintage might imply, choice uncirculated and very choice ones are at least very scarce and gem quality MS65 examples are rare with only about 25-30 known. More superb MS66 and MS67 examples exist of this issue than of most of the other rare dates in the series, but they are still very rare with perhaps 15-18 known.
    From The Rollo Fox Collection of $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold. (Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 26FA, PCGS# 9149)

    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 Rollo Fox Collection of $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2020
    8th-12th Wednesday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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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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