Why is this 1907 Saint-Gaudens $20 coin high-end?
- Published: Mar 14, 2017, 4 AM
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: 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 recently sold high-end, mid-range and entry-level examples in this Market Analysis:
High-end: 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief gold double eagle, Mint State 65
1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief double eagles in Gem grades of MS-65 and finer truly showcase the artistry of and the mastery of the technicians at the Philadelphia Mint in 1907. Ultimately, the high relief design was not well-suited to mass production — it is reported that it took 12 minutes to produce each coin, as each piece required multiple strikes — and the relief was lowered later that year.
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Surprisingly, one of the trickiest elements for the Mint to master on the new Saint-Gaudens double eagles was the edge lettering since the Coronet type had utilized a reeded edge.
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?
Examples in MS-65 and finer are not rare in an absolute sense — both Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. have certified hundreds of examples, though the populations reflect resubmissions of the same coins — but representatives still grace the cover of auction catalogs.
At Heritage’s 2017 Florida United Numismatists auction, this wire rim example graded MS-65 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. sold for $35,250. Exceptional MS-65 representatives with a green CAC sticker or a Plus grade can sell for nearly $50,000 at auction.
Keep Reading This 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief Double Eagle Analysis:
Even an ‘entry-level’ 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief double eagle is going to cost you: The 1907 Saint-Gaudens, High Relief double eagle is a showpiece even when it has problems. This lot from a recent Heritage sale is an example.
1907 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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