US Coins

The top lot from just-sold Saint-Gaudens collection

Heritage’s Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 U.S. Coins Signature Auction in New York brought more than $12.4 million, and leading the sale was the Cherny Col­lection of Mint State Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagles.

Except for the 1927-D double eagle and the noncollectible 1933 coin, the set was complete and was especially noteworthy for its exceptional middle- and late-date issues chosen with aesthetic appeal in mind.

Here is one of three San Francisco Mint $20 coins we're analyzing in this week's Market Analysis that showcase beauty, quality and rarity, and help confirm why the series has remained popular for decades with the wealthiest collectors.

The Lot:

1920-S Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle, PCGS Mint State 65, CAC sticker

The Price:


The Story:

The top lot in the Cherny Collection was this 1920-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle graded Mint State 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that sold for $517,000. Excluding the noncollectible 1933 double eagle, this date is one of the key rarities in the series in high Mint State grades — along with the 1921 and 1927-D coins.

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Most of the 558,000 examples struck of the 1920-S coin went into Mint storage and were then melted, with most never released into circulation. Few seem to have been sent to Europe, and today perhaps 200 pieces exist. The issue’s rarity became known in the 1940s and this example was the plate coin for several key reference books in the series.

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?

The catalog for the 2001 Dallas Bank Collection auction by Sotheby’s and Stack’s described the example in the Cherny auction as “The Finest Known, without question. A truly majestic example.” Gold expert David Akers said the same of it in 1988, considering it finer than the Louis Eliasberg Sr. example, which today is graded MS-66.

Keep Reading About the Lots of the Cherny Collection:

1930-S Saint-Gaudens double eagleHow much one of the toughest Saint-Gaudens double eagles to find sold for: Each of the five double eagles struck between 1929 and 1932 is expensive and among these the 1930-S coin is considered the most challenging to acquire.

1927-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle‘Elite status’ of 1927-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle leads MS-65 example to healthy price: Like the 1920-S coin, the 1927-S double eagle has not been found in any substantial quantities in European hoards.

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