At Heritage’s Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 Long Beach Expo auction, rare double
eagles brought top prices, and total prices realized approached $7
million as of Feb. 4.
Just missing the six-figure mark was a 1920-S Saint-Gaudens double
eagle graded MS-64 by Professional Coin Grading Service that sold for
$99,875. At 558,000, the mintage for the issue is deceptively high, as
the vast majority was melted after President Franklin Roosevelt’s gold
recall. Many of the Saint-Gaudens double eagles that escaped the
melting pot made their way to Europe. However, Heritage notes, “Unlike
some of the rarities of later years in the decade, the supply of
1920-S twenties has not been augmented by hundreds or thousands of
In estimating the number of known examples, Heritage cites Q. David
Bowers’ estimate of 45 to 60 in circulated grades and another 40 to 60
in Mint State. PCGS estimates 100 to 150 pieces known in all grades.
PCGS and NGC population reports show 167 submissions for this issue
across all grades, although this number is surely inflated by
resubmitted coins, where the same coin is submitted multiple times and
all its submissions appear separately on population reports.
The majority of the known Mint State examples are graded MS-62 to
MS-64, and Heritage notes, “Better-grade Mint State examples were
almost certainly obtained at the time of issue by collectors who had
close ties to Mint or other government officials.” Although this issue
is infrequently offered, a different example graded PCGS MS-64 brought
$111,625 in Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ August 2014 American Numismatic
Association auction and Heritage sold a PCGS MS-63 representative in
its recent Florida United Numismatists sale where it brought $70,500.
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