Named after its designer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle Coin is one of the most sought-after gold creations out there today. Produced from 1907 to 1933 by the United States Mint, it’s both the extraordinary beauty and quality of this coin that has made it a long-time favorite among collectors across the globe.
The obverse of the Saint Gaudens Coin features Lady Liberty striding forward while holding onto a lit torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand. Rays of sunshine can be seen behind her, with the word LIBERTY above her head. The reverse depicts a stunning American eagle in flight with rays of sunshine rising upwards and the words IN GOD WE TRUST just above the blazing sun.
Sadly, Augustus Saint-Gaudens passed away before the Saint Gaudens series went into production, meaning he never got the chance to see his wonderful designs go into circulation.
By the early 1900s, and with President Theodore Roosevelt at the helm, America had become one of the most powerful countries on earth. To reflect the pre-eminent status of the nation, Roosevelt decided it was time to beautify American coinage, which he described at the time as being “artistically of atrocious hideousness.”
Roosevelt chose the American artist and sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens to redesign the Gold Double Eagle coin, now known as the Saint Gaudens Coin. Saint-Gaudens appreciated Roosevelt’s vision and went on to design the new and improved Double Eagle Coin in ultra-high relief to make it appear more sculpted and unique. However, while Roosevelt was thrilled with the design, the U.S. Mint’s chief engraver, Charles E. Barber was less than impressed with its high relief elements.
Barber and other U.S. Mint officials argued that multiple striking would be necessary to produce such high relief coins and that it would be impractical because of the amount of time it would take them to strike a single piece. Roosevelt showed no concern over this and ordered Barber to commence production in 1907 after promising the now dying Saint-Gaudens that his high relief design would, without question, be featured on the coin.
Although the U.S. Mint went ahead with striking the high relief design in 1907, Saint Gaudens Coins later used a lower relief design to allow them to be struck with one blow and to make stacking them easier. Barber also changed the Roman numeral inscriptions to Arabic number when making his modifications. Some high relief coins did make it into circulation but most of them were destroyed and melted into lifeless gold bars.
Saint Gaudens Gold Coins have been produced with .9675 oz. of 24-karat gold; one of the many reasons why countless government treasuries, royal figures and collectors keep their eyes peeled for rare varieties and certified versions. The fixed and limited supply of these coins also means their value will continue to rise as the years go by, making Saint Gaudens highly desirable to investors too.
The original high relief pieces are especially rare, with a little over 12,000 originally produced, and many people have argued over how many still exist today. In addition to this, many Saint Gaudens Coins were melted following the recall of gold coinage, as were many of the branch mint coins and other later issues, such as those from 1933.
Proof coins also exist for all dates between 1907 and 1915 but they were struck in very low quantities, with the 1910 coins having the highest mintage at a mere 167 pieces. Saint Gaudens with D mintmarks represent the Denver Mint, and those with S mintmarks are from the San Francisco Mint. All non-marked coins have been produced in Philadelphia.
There’s no denying that the Saint Gaudens Coin is a majestic work of art, well-loved by many for its history, weight, and beauty. Containing close to one ounce of pure gold, Saint Gaudens Coins are incredibly detailed pieces and it is possible to find certified varieties in excellent condition.
As already mentioned, mintages were never very high on these sought-after gold coins, and they are not always readily available. This in itself has sparked further demand, with some of the rarest specimens selling for millions of dollars.
You also need to be aware that, as with all valuable collector coins, counterfeit Saint Gaudens Coins do exist. While there are usually some subtle differences to look out for, some counterfeits can only be differentiated by a professional numismatist, such as those who work at the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
Whether you’re a coin hobbyist or an investor, Capital Gold Group can help you find a certified Saint Gaudens Coin to add to your collection or portfolio. As we offer hand-selected Saint Gaudens that have been graded by the NGC or PCGS, you can rest assured that your purchase has been certified by one of the world’s major coin grading services.