Some people own gold coins for their aesthetic value, others for investment interests. You could serve both purposes with the St. Gaudens $20 gold piece, thought by many to be America’s most beautiful rare gold coin. The St. Gaudens gold coin, also known as a “double eagle”, was produced by the US Mint from 1907 to 1933. The coin’s name derives from the artist who created its design, the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The impetus to produce this beautiful coin was initiated in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt, who had a keen interest in beautifying American coinage.
The Saint Gaudens Design
The St. Gaudens Double Eagle is made of 90% gold and 10% copper, and has a face value of $20. Weighing in at 33.431 grams, the bullion value of this coin now far exceeds $20. The front or obverse of the coin depicts Lady Liberty, with flowing golden hair, holding a lighted torch and an olive branch. The rays of the rising sun illuminate her from behind. The US Capitol and 46 stars are arrayed around the perimeter of the obverse. D and S mint marks are located on the obverse, just below the date on the lower right. The reverse of the coin depicts a flying eagle, with superbly crafted wing and breast feathers, backed by the rays of the partially risen sun.
Mintage and Rarity
By all accounts, the St. Gaudens Double Eagle is considered a rare coin. They were produced from the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco mints. Mintages run from 12,367 for the 1907 high-relief strike to over 8 million for the 1928 coin. Many of the dates are quite scarce, with less than 1 million coins struck.
The mintages are in many cases not a true indication of the relative rarity of these coins. Many coins were melted for their bullion value after 1933. Therefore, the official mintages do not represent the current number of these coins presently in existence. This perfect confluence of unique rarity and special beauty make many of the the St. Gaudens Double Eagles a great investment and an important numismatic collectible.
An example of how valuable some of these coins can be is illustrated by the 1925-S Double Eagle. Although 3,776,500 were minted, most were stored in government and bank vaults, released in 1932 at face value and then melted for their bullion. Apparently less than 1000 survived. In 2005, a single specimen in great mint condition, (graded at MS-67), sold for $287,500. Quite an investment indeed.
Purchasing St. Gaudens Double Eagles
Design Reuse in Modern US Bullion
So beautiful is the Saint Guadens design that is was brought back in the modern era with the American Eagle Gold Coin. This coin, minted from 1986 and continuing presently, prominently features Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ art. The obverse of the coin features the iconic image of Lady Liberty, just as in the original double eagle coin. You can purchase the American Gold Eagle for your own investment and collection here:
The American Eagle Gold Coin is considerably less expensive that the original Double Eagles produced in the early part of the 20th century, and affords the collector an opportunity to own America’s most beautiful rare gold coin at a relative discount.
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