US Coins

Analyzing an entry-level 1907 Saint-Gaudens $20 coin

For many collectors and noncollectors alike, the 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief gold $20 double eagle by famed American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens is an impressive and beautiful object. It is often the first major purchase for a collector and it has always been an expensive and aspirational trophy.

Thankfully its mintage of 12,367 pieces enjoyed a high survival rate since people kept them because of the novelty of the high relief design (which was a stark departure from the Coronet design by James B. Longacre, used on circulating double eagles from 1850 through 1907). This means there are many examples in nearly all grades above Very Fine, but even the lowest-end examples are pricey additions to a collection. 

Saint-Gaudens double eagle

Saint-Gaudens double eagle: The early 20th century was a golden age of U.S. coin designs, and perhaps the most memorable of these classic designs is the contribution made by the famed sculptor-engraver Augustus Saint-Gaudens. How much are Saint-Gaudens double eagles worth?

We profile a recently sold entry-level example in this Market Analysis: 

The Lot:

Entry level: 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief gold double eagle, AU Details, Cleaned

The Price:


The Story: 

The 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief double eagle is a showpiece even when it has problems. Because of its unusual high relief, people have long tinkered with examples in an effort to improve the appearance. Typical impairments include cleaning, polishing and scratches, with many used in jewelry that show evidence of prior mounting on the rims. As with all large-denomination gold coins, the rims are problematic because gold is a soft metal and even one drop can cause a rim ding.

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This example graded About Uncirculated Details, Cleaned, by Professional Coin Grading Service sold for $6,462.50 at an Oct. 3, 2016, Heritage auction.

”U.S.Is coin jewelry a form of self-expression or mutilation?: Inside Coin World: Jewelry made from coins can be found for sale all over the Internet, and even at major coin shows. Is it numismatic art or numismatic crime?

It was brighter than usual and had a handful of small abrasions scattered across each side, but was still a presentable double eagle that represents about the lowest price for one of the coins. Other examples below the $7,000 level are often well-worn — Very Fine examples are sometimes seen — or show traces of a former life in jewelry.

Keep Reading This 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief Double Eagle Analysis:

High-end 1907 high relief gold double eagleWhat makes this 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief gold double eagle a high-end example?: This means there are many examples in nearly all grades above Very Fine, but even the lowest-end examples are pricey additions to a collection.

Mid-level 1907 Saint-Gaudens gold double eagle1907 Saint-Gaudens double eagles: When 'mid-level' issues cost as much as a car: In the mid-range for a 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief $20 coin are the Mint State examples typically at the MS-61 to MS-63 level.

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