GreatCollections is offering collectors a seldom-seen opportunity to purchase a high-grade 1929 Saint. It is estimated that less than 350 double eagles exist in all grades due to several reasons, including the Great Depression and the Executive Order banning gold ownership just a few years later.
While they are rare in all grades, Gem examples like this PCGS MS-65 in the GreatCollections auction on Sunday are rarely encountered. Bidding for this special coin ends Sunday evening Pacific Time on March 5, 2023.
At the time of publication, with six days remaining until the lot closes, the highest of 24 bids stands at $65,000. PCGS lists the coin in their Price Guide at $125,000.
Serious collectors will also note the older-style holder of PCGS that the coin still resides in – it is commonly referred to as a “Series” label/holder and was graded 20+ years ago by PCGS. At some point in the early 2000s, PCGS decided to remove the Series number from the label.
The vast majority of 1929 double eagles remained in the vaults and were not released into circulation. This was because, as well-known numismatist Roger Burdette has noted, most double eagles struck up through the end of 1929 were blocked into their storage cage. Removal required the breaking “of multiple vault seals, moving hundreds of coin bags, then reversing the whole process on closing the cage.” Therefore, as soon as President Roosevelt’s 1933 gold recall went into effect, all gold coins remaining in Treasury Department vaults were melted and (mostly) formed into gold bars.
Luckily for collectors, 1,000 coins were sent to the U.S. Treasury Office for sale to private collectors and roughly 22,000 were distributed by the Philadelphia Mint during 1929. While most of these coins were undoubtedly returned as part of the gold recall, a small number survived in private hands. Today, the 1929 is considered one of the rare key dates and is missing from most Saint-Gaudens double eagle collections.
The obverse features a full-length image of Liberty, facing forward with an olive branch in her extended left hand and a raised torch in her extended right. Draped in a long, flowing classical gown, her hair is swept to the left. Some describe her as striding forward, but she appears instead to be in a pose, the foot of her left leg resting on a large rock in front of which are oak leaves. To Liberty’s right, at the bottom of the coin, the sun is visible behind a depiction of the United States Capitol building. Rays from the sun extend upward from behind the Capitol and Liberty to about the level of Liberty’s waist. At the top of the coin is the word LIBERTY, the torch separating I and B. Forty-eight tiny six-pointed stars are arrayed just inside the flat rim, forming a circle broken only at the bottom. The date (1929) is near the bottom on the right, above a monogram of the designer’s initials ASG.
The crest of the sun appears again on the reverse, with rays extending upward nearly to the top of the coin behind a majestic left-facing eagle, wings uplifted in flight. In an arc above the sun is IN GOD WE TRUST, the words separated by centered triangular dots. At the top is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in a concentric arc next to the flat rim, with TWENTY DOLLARS just below in another arc. The words of both phrases are separated by centered triangular dots, and the text is also in front of the sun’s rays.
The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM, in raised letters that alternate with 13 raised stars, is on the edge of the coin.
Bidding ends on Sunday, March 5, at 7:43:27 PM Pacific Time (10:43:27 PM Eastern).
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