The $20 Saint Unlike Any Other
By Brian Zweig
1908 Wells Fargo MS66 $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
Over the past year, we’ve had the privilege of offering several groups of ultra-high grade $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles. These Double Eagles are impressive in any grade, but in MS66, they are truly stunning to behold. $20 “Saints” are more than just dazzling to the eyes—their historical background is second to none. Few coins can boast such an alluring story.
The $20 Saints we have available today, however, might be the ultimate in terms of both condition and historical importance. Not only are they among the finest known, but you’ll be captivated by the story behind their discovery. Each of these 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saints sat in a western bank vault for the better part of a century—untouched! They are pedigreed by PCGS as one of the most legendary numismatic hoards of all time. Once you discover how these coins survived in such pristine condition, you’ll agree they’re the ultimate $20 Saint!
History of the $20 Saint
When the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle 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, both 1908 $10 and $20 gold pieces exist in both “No Motto” and “With Motto” versions.
This turn of events transformed the 1908 “No Motto” $20 Saint-Gaudens into a notable coin. These “ungodly” Double Eagles became a distinct and short-lived design type; as such, it became a favorite 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.
The Wells Fargo Hoard
In the late 1990s, a California coin dealer stumbled upon a pristine and intact hoard of 20,000 1908 “No Motto” $20 Double Eagles. The find was one of the most spectacular in American numismatics and made national headlines. The hoard was remarkable for its enormous size, but the quality of the coins was truly exceptional. The coins were essentially as-made and were preserved in basically the same condition in which they left the Mint!
The dealer was cognizant of the coins’ pristine condition. He arranged to have the coins transported directly from a Nevada Wells Fargo bank vault to PCGS. The staff graders were dazzled by the quality; many coins in the group qualified as MS66. In fact, a select few actually received the virtually unheard-of MS67 and MS68 grades. The absolute best coins in the entire hoard landed in MS69 holders, and they remain tied as the finest $20 Saints ever certified in PCGS history! In other words, the Wells Fargo hoard yielded more “Super-Grade” Saints than any other discovery in numismatic history.
Even with all the Wells Fargo hoard coins, the “No Motto” $20 Saint is still scarcer than the “With Motto” version. However, 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, the former is actually 95% rarer. That is, nearly twice as many “With Motto” $20 Saints exist in MS66 compared to the “No Motto” version. Yet, despite the difference in PCGS/NGC populations, the coins currently trade 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 MS66 “No Motto” $20 Saint has corrected substantially in 2018. This is why we’re highlighting the coin today. Owning this coin with the Wells Fargo pedigree only adds to the allure and value.
Own the Ultimate $20 Saint
Each coin available today is graded MS66 with the Wells Fargo designation on the PCGS holder. This guarantees that it was one of the pieces uncovered in the legendary hoard. As their lofty grade suggests, these coins are among the finest $20 Saints in existence. Of all $20 Double Eagles in collectors’ hands, just a fraction of a percent exists 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.
You don’t want to miss this opportunity to add the ultimate $20 Saint to your collection! Even if you were one of the lucky few to grab an MS66 $20 Saint in our prior offerings, we highly recommend owning a Wells Fargo specimen, too. This is a fantastic way to add even further variety to your set—and acquire this coin at the lowest price in over a decade!
To secure one of these historic 1908 Wells Fargo MS66 $20 Saints, please call us at 800-831-0007 or email us. With only 23 coins available, we fully expect these remarkable $20 Saints to sell out fast!
*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 purchases of two (2) coins or more. Offer expires Friday, August 3, 2018, or while supplies last.