GreatCollections is currently auctioning a fine example of one of the most collectable $20 double eagle gold coins. This 1930-S Saint-Gaudens received an MS 64 grade from PCGS and a green sticker from CAC sticker, meaning it is strong for the grade. As this high-grade piece belongs to what is commonly considered the rarest post-1929 double eagle issuance, it would be welcome in any collection of high-grade American gold coins. Interested collectors should note that bidding for this piece ends on Sunday, January 22, 2023, at 7:56 PM Pacific Time (10:56 PM Eastern)
At the time of publication, the highest of 56 bids stands at $65,000 USD with 20 days remaining for additional bidding.
With the Great Depression gripping the nation and the demand for coinage declining rapidly, the United States Mint sharply reduced the number of coins it struck. By 1930, the San Francisco branch struck only 74,000 double eagles in its last issuance of the denomination. Compounding this miniscule mintage, the vast majority were melted down by the Treasury Department over the years. As such, it is estimated that only between 50 and 100 pieces survive to this day, making it one of the scarcest Saint-Gaudens double eagle dates available to collectors. Interestingly, since many of these pieces survived in either MS 64 or 65, it is probable that unlike many other contemporary gold pieces that were exported to Europe, these examples remained in either domestic American coin collections or in various dealers’ stock.
This particular coin is a prime example of the type, with the customary sharp strike and lustrous frosty surfaces. While there are some minimal bag marks, and a couple of minor copper spots on the obverse, the color on this coin is quite pleasing. The center of the coin on both faces reveals an attractive orangey gold coloration which gives way to a more yellow-gold closer to the rims.
As a relatively scarce coin, the 1930-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle only comes to auction one or two times annually. Over the past few years, the value of examples in comparable grades has increased dramatically. Prior to 2020, MS 64 and MS 65 specimens sold for between $150,000 and $175,000. However, in two recent auctions in May and August of 2022, an MS 63 sold for $264,000 and an MS 65 sold for $288,000, respectively.
The obverse features a full-length image of Lady 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 U.S. 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 in ‘Arabic’ numerals is near the bottom on the right; a monogram of the designer’s initials ASG is below the date.
The crest of the sun appears again on the reverse, at the bottom 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 for this 1930-S Saint Gaudens Double Eagle ends on Sunday, January 22, 2023, at 7:56 PM Pacific Time (10:56 PM Eastern).
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