US Coins

1920-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle: a heavily melted issue

Numerous Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagles dated from the 1920s and 1930s ended up in the melting pot. As such, these issues are often much rarer than the mintages would suggest. 

For example, the 1920-S double eagle has a recorded mintage of 558,000, but Heritage estimates that only 65 to 75 examples of the issues exist in Mint State grades and the population of survivors only gets a small boost with the addition of lightly circulated examples. 

1920 represented the first year of production of double eagles since 1916, and while 1920 Philadelphia Mint double eagles had a lower mintage of 228,250, they are generally plentiful. 1920-S double eagles had a much lower survival rate and nearly all of them were melted into gold bars. 

This one, graded MS-60 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., in part due to a weak strike and numerous shallow marks, brought $38,187.50 at Heritage Auctions' March 20 sale of the Bently Collection.

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