Best Buy: The Saints Be Praised…
The Saint-Gaudens double eagle has one of the best stories and design of all the U.S. coins. It’s hard to name a coin with greater historical allure or aesthetic appeal.
We’ve always been a fan of this big, beautiful, gold coin—but we especially like it at today’s extraordinarily low premium. While virtually all $20 Saints are at compelling levels right now, we’ve identified two dates in MS64 that offer tremendous upside potential. Call 800-831-0007 to get yours today.
History and Rarity
The Saint-Gaudens double eagle can trace its roots directly to President Theodore Roosevelt. After viewing a collection of Greek coins, Roosevelt decided America’s coinage was extremely mundane and bland compared to ancient money. Roosevelt had said in a letter, U.S. coinage was in a state of “atrocious hideousness,” and was in severe need of an overhaul. Up until that point, all U.S. coins were designed by U.S. Mint employees, but the president felt an outside artist should be brought in to create the new design.
In late 1904, President Roosevelt asked renowned sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, if he would be interested in revamping America’s gold coinage. Saint-Gaudens accepted the project, but would face significant logistical challenges. Both Saint-Gaudens and Roosevelt sought to adopt a high relief design reminiscent of ancient Greek coinage. While visually stunning, Saint-Gaudens’ proposed design (in extremely high relief) would prove to be difficult to manufacture. The mint produced a few dozen prototypes, but found it took nine impressions of the dies to properly strike the coins. This was impractical for a mass-produced coin. A lower relief version was then attempted, but this too required multiple strokes of the press.
Saint-Gaudens and President Roosevelt insisted the coin be produced in high relief only, but siting efficiency, the Mint staunchly objected. Roosevelt eventually yielded to the Mint’s demands after the passing of Saint-Gaudens in 1907. The final version retained Saint-Gaudens’ basic design elements, but was flatter and dramatically easier to strike. In retrospect, it was fortunate the Mint settled on an easy-to-produce format because a more complex design would have been impossible to make in large quantities. This coin would become a staple of American commerce.
The $20 gold piece was America’s largest denomination coin to date, and was used extensively for intra-bank transfers, gold reserves, and large international payments. Like the U.S. gold eagle today, the Saint-Gaudens double eagle was universally recognized and accepted due to its trusted weight and purity. Countless bags of ‘Saints’ were exported to Europe, as overseas institutions and governments preferred to hold gold double eagles in lieu of paper money or their own fiat currency.
Since most Saints traveled extensively, many picked up several nicks and marks along the way. Many a bag of double eagles was thrown onto a train or ship, which damaged the coins’ surfaces badly. Once coins reached their destinations, they often sat in canvas bags for decades, which resulted in them acquiring thick patina and subdued luster. The net result is most $20 Saints grade no better than MS63. Coins grading MS64 or higher are definitely in the minority.
Over the past decade, the MS64 $20 Saint-Gaudens double eagle has traded for substantial premiums compared to its gold content. Historical data shows the coin wholesaled for double melt in 2004, and maintained a healthy 60-80% premium over its bullion content from 2005 through late 2010. Premiums contracted somewhat in 2011, but according to NGC’s historical price data, they returned to their typical 60-80% range for much of 2012 and 2013. Since then, we have seen the ratios retreat to extremely attractive levels. Currently, an MS64 $20 Saint is commanding just at 30-40% premium over melt.
After analyzing the $20 Saint-Gaudens series, two dates emerged as the best values in the category: the 1922 and 1923 Philadelphia issues. The market appears to be unfairly ‘lumping’ these two dates together with the common 1924-P. Consider the difference in rarity:
The NGC price guide assigns a 20-25% premium to the 1922/1923 over the 1924, yet they are 12 times and 29 times rarer respectively. It’s also worth noting that while the 1924 jumps by several hundred dollars from MS64 to MS65, the 1922 and 1923 issues spike by $1,750 and $2,950:
||NGC Value in MS-64
||NGC Value in MS65
Based on our research, it appears the 1922 and 1923 dates are undervalued compared to the common dates, and should be commanding significantly more than the 1924s.
With this knowledge, we scoured the market for 1922s and 1923s. We were able to secure several dozen pieces at modest premiums over common levels. Our research findings were validated by this hunt; we had to search through thousands of MS64 Saints to find a small group of 1922 and 1923 Philadelphia issues. And now we can offer them to you at a great price. Look at the chart below:
NGC Price History for the MS64 1922 $20 Saint-Gaudens
It has been 5 years since the MS64 $20 Saint-Gaudens NGC price guide was below the price level we are able to offer to you today. In January 2009, gold was around $850 ($400 or 30%+ below where gold sits now). As you can see from the chart, this coin has shown steady progress before the recent dip and spent 2.5 years being valued at over $2,600, which is 40% higher than we are offering this coin for today. We love the MS64 $20 Saint-Gaudens, and invite you to consider taking advantage of these two better dates for your portfolio. And as our Spotlight coins have proven in the past—at this price—they will not remain in our inventory for long.
As always with the monthly spotlight coin, we have obtained a few coins we can offer to you at a price we feel will put you in the position to succeed in the future.
MS64: Please call for pricing and avaliability.
or email me today
to purchase your coins and to take advantage of the lowest prices in years.
*Prices subject to change due to availability and market fluctuation.