Months-Long Search Uncovers Rare “No Motto” $20 Saints
By Brian Zweig
MS66 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
Perhaps one of the most popular gold coins in American history, the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle is a quintessential coin celebrated for its beautiful design and equally fascinating history. When the $20 “Saint” first debuted in 1907, it received tremendous praise from the general public. Art critics and newspaper editorialists lauded the coin’s stunning design. While there was never a complaint about the coin’s aesthetics, some Americans were incensed by one glaring omission.
Since 1866, in the Civil War’s immediate aftermath, all United States Double Eagles displayed the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the reverse. Including this inscription was not (yet) required by law, but became regular practice for the U.S. Mint. When these words vanished from the Double Eagle, many citizens were outraged.
In response to this public outcry, Congress ordered the U.S. Mint to place “IN GOD WE TRUST” on all coins upon which the motto previously appeared. This legislation specifically targeted the Saint-Gaudens-designed $10 Eagle and $20 Double Eagle—both of which lacked the motto. The Mint immediately complied with this mandate and restored the inscription on both gold coins. Consequently, the 1908 $10 and $20 gold pieces exist in “No Motto” and “With Motto” versions.
This turn of events transformed the 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saint into a notable coin. These “ungodly” Double Eagles became a distinct and short-lived design type—as such, they became favorites among collectors. However, the coin gained even greater notoriety over 90 years after its initial release. A surprise discovery in a Nevada bank vault turned the 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saint into one of America’s most famous coins.
In the late 1990s, a California coin dealer stumbled upon a pristine and intact hoard of 20,000 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saints. The find was one of the most spectacular in American numismatics and made national headlines. Not only was the hoard remarkable for its enormous size, but the quality of the coins was truly exceptional. The coins were essentially as-made and were preserved in practically the same condition in which they left the Mint!
Best Value in Over a Decade
1908 “No Motto” $20 Saints were once extremely rare above MS65, but became more affordable once this hoard surfaced. Make no mistake about it, any U.S. gold coin in MS66 is still quite scarce, but the 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saint is one of the few high-grade coins within the average collector’s budget. Whereas the NGC Price Guide assigns a value of $8,000 per coin to MS66 $20 Liberties, the 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saint can be bought for under $2,500 per coin.
Even with all the Nevada hoard discoveries, the “No Motto” $20 Saint is still scarcer than the “With Motto” version—but you wouldn’t know it from looking at price guides. Even though the “No Motto” is priced at roughly the same level as the “With Motto” type, there are nearly twice as many “With Motto” Saints that exist in MS66 compared to the “No Motto” version. Yet, despite the difference in PCGS/NGC populations, the coins currently sell for essentially the same amount.
There’s one more reason why the “No Motto” $20 Saint is an excellent value in MS66. For much of the past decade, the coin has changed hands in the $3,000 to $4,000 per coin range. As recently as late 2016, for example, the NGC Price Guide pegged its value at exactly $4,000 per coin. Nonetheless, the “No Motto” $20 Saint has corrected substantially in MS66 over the past several months. This is why we’re highlighting the coin today.
In July 2016, we offered “With Motto” MS66 $20 Saints as our Spotlight coin. The response was so massive, our entire offering sold out within days! Many of you have asked when we would have more available—and now, we can finally satisfy these requests. We’ve scanned the market for well-priced groups of MS66 $20 Saints since the summer, but at long last, we secured a small “cache” of them. We were especially happy to find they were all 1908 “No Mottos,” as we’ve never offered this coin in our Spotlight program!
As the lofty grade of MS66 suggests, these coins are among the finest $20 Saints in existence. Of all $20 Double Eagles out there, just a fraction of a percent is available in such pristine condition. Each specimen offered today displays immaculate fields, strong satiny luster, a perfect strike, and dazzling eye appeal. If you’ve never seen a superb 1908 $20 Saint in person, they have a distinct and particularly memorable appearance. They are among the most attractive U.S. gold coins in high grade.
The Perfect Complement to Your Portfolio
If you missed out on last summer’s MS66 $20 Saint offer, this is a great opportunity to add one to your portfolio. And, if you were one of the lucky few to grab an MS66 “With Motto” $20 Saint, today’s “No Motto” issue is the perfect complement to your collection. This is a fantastic way to add even more date variety to your set—and acquire this coin at the lowest price in over a decade. In fact, you can even save over $50 per coin when you purchase a set of three or more. Now is the time to add these striking coins to your portfolio, because we have a limited quantity available—only 29 pieces are available for purchase!
All coins will arrive slabbed and graded by either the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). To purchase one of these MS66 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saints, please contact us at 800-831-0007 or email us.
P.S. Looking for “With Motto” $20 Saints in MS66, as well? We have an extremely small quantity available for you. To add this incredible complement to your portfolio today, please call or email us for pricing and availability.
*Prices subject to change based on market fluctuation and product availability. Prices reflected are for cash, check, or bank wire. Free shipping, handling, and insurance are available for all quantities ordered. Offer expires Tuesday, January 9, 2018, or while supplies last.