At almost three million pieces minted, the 1927 double eagle is one of the most common of the Saint-Gaudens series. But not that anyone is complaining; the 1927 comes exceptionally nice for the type. Though while PCGS has graded 6,423 pieces at MS-66, it has certified only 24 at MS-67. And out of four higher, three come in at 67+ and one sits at 68.
As for auction records, the highest price for a PCGS-graded MS-67 1927 $20 gold double eagle in the last decade is $25,300 USD, though you have to go back to January 2012 for that. More recently, the MS-67 has been selling for just under the $20,000 mark. In 2013, two examples went for $14,10 and $17,625 each in April. Over two years later in December 2015, a specimen sold for $15,275.
But in 2016, prices began to pick back up. The ANA World’s Fair of Money in August saw the sale of two coins, each going for a price of $18,800. Then in October, another example garnered $17,625.
And just last year in December, another piece sold for $18,650.
After 44 bids, the winning price for this 1927 $20 gold double eagle was $13,277.
Be sure to check GreatCollections for other sales of Saint-Gaudens double eagles in the GreatCollections Auction Archives, with records for over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past seven years.
An Impractical Coinage
The Saint-Gaudens double eagle is one of the most famous of all American coin types. Its existence came only at the insistence of President Theodore Roosevelt, who sought for years to beautiful America’s humdrum coin designs.
Saint-Gaudens’ involvement in the process was meant to be more far-reaching than it turned out to be. The artist set out to redesign every denomination of America’s circulating coinage but fell seriously ill before this plan could truly come to fruition. In fact, what we have in the form of the Saint Gaudens-designed $10 and $20 gold coins were actually only made possible due to the work of Saint Gaudens’ assistant Henry Hering.
The Mint’s first strikings of this $20 design came in the form of two dozen Proofs, which were struck in March, each coin requiring nine impressions to realize the full detail of Saint-Gaudens’ high relief design.
The Mint’s engraving department, led by Chief Engraver Charles Barber, was adamant that the high relief models were completely impractical for use in striking circulating coins. Barber is often slandered in numismatic circles as being entitled, hard to deal with, and unprofessional to his peers in the U.S. Mint engraving department and to outside artists. This could not be farther from the truth, and in the case of the double eagle design, he was absolutely correct!
A total of 2,946,750 coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1927. PCGS has certified 161,305 pieces dated 1927 and NGC has graded 149,488–the total grading events representing approximately 10% of the original mintage. This really puts the PCGS tally of 24 at MS-67 into perspective.