One of the extant Mint State 1921 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double
eagles sold for $117,500 in Heritage Auctions July 11 and 12 sale held
in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists Summer Convention
The coin is graded and encapsulated Mint State 61 by Numismatic
The 1921 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is one of the few dates in the
series where examples are more likely to be found in circulated grades
than in Mint State.
Researchers estimate that less than 3 percent of the total mintage
exists in circulated and Mint State grades combined from a recorded
production at the Philadelphia Mint of 528,500 coins. The small number
of extant examples is the result of most of the coins being melted
instead of released into circulation.
The 2,123-lot sale for the four floor sessions brought total
prices realized, including the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee added to the
final closing price of each lot won, to $8,671,309.73.
Of the total lots offered, 97.4 percent reportedly sold.
The 1921 issue is one of the key dates in the Saint-Gaudens double
The coin wasn’t struck until late in the calendar year. Mint
records indicate 90,000 coins were struck in November 1921, with
another 438,500 pieces struck in December. Few of the coins were
released to the public through circulation channels and no other U.S.
gold coins of any other denomination were struck in 1921.
According to the Heritage lot description, the 1921 double eagles
“were intended to serve strictly as currency reserves. Accordingly,
the great majority of the mintage remained in storage in Treasury
vaults and Federal Reserve Banks until the Gold Recall of 1933, when
they were melted and stored as ingots in the Fort Knox Bullion
Repository,” according to the lot description.
A number of the coins managed to find their way into the hands of
“well-connected collectors by Mint or Treasury officials through
unofficial channels, the source for most high-grade coins we know
about today,” according to the lot description.
“A few were also released into circulation, as the issue is one of
the few Saint-Gaudens double eagles that is seen more often in
circulated grades than Mint State,” according to the lot description.
Research conducted during the 1930s of Mint records by Charles W.
Green indicates that only 21 examples of the 1921 double eagle had
been released to the public through official channels.
“Today, no more than 50 to 60 are extant in Mint State grades,
with a like number of surviving circulated specimens,” according to
the auction lot description. “No large number of 1921 double eagles
was ever found in foreign holdings.”
For more information on this and future sales, visit Heritage
Auctions online at www.ha.com or www.HeritageAuctions.com;
write the firm at 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941;
or telephone Heritage at 800-872-6467. ■