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04/18/2024 03:55:12 AM

$20.00 Double Eagles (Saint Gaudens 1907-1933)

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$20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagles at BGASC

Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ redesign of the $20 Gold Double Eagle in 1907 is arguably the most beautiful coin design in American history. Heralded in its day as a revolutionary design, this image of Lady Liberty was so popular with American numismatists that the United States Mint revived the Liberty portrait in 1986 for the obverse of its modern gold bullion coin series, the American Gold Eagle. Surviving $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagles are coveted specimens and make a special addition to any collection.

Introduction

The redesign of the $20 Gold Double Eagle in 1907 came about as the result of a process that started in 1905. President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to see the nation’s coinage redesigned and reimagined to better reflect the growing prominence and power of the United States on the global stage. President Roosevelt personally commissioned Saint-Gaudens to create new designs for consideration on US coinage. While two of his designs were ultimately selected for the US Eagle denominations (the other being the $10 Eagle), it was his Liberty design that would have a lasting impact. 

On the obverse of $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, you will find a front-facing portrait of Liberty’s full-length figure. She is shown striding toward the viewer with a torch held out in her right hand and an olive branch in her left. The background field features sun rays behind her figure and a ring of stars around the edge. The U.S. Capitol Building is shown in the background near her right foot. The reverse of the coins offers a simple, beautiful depiction of the bald eagle in flight. The bird glides through the air in left-profile relief as the sun begins to rise along the bottom of the design field.

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Series

The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle design was among the shorter-lived designs in the history of the US Eagle Series. The design was introduced in 1907 and was struck through 1933 when the US ended gold coining. One design facet of the Double Eagle that was unique was the use of an edge inscription. Along the edge of the coins, you’ll find an inscription that reads E PLURIBUS UNUM. The coins were struck only by the Philadelphia Mint, Denver Mint, and San Francisco Mint, with the latter two issuing the coins with D and S mint marks, respectively.

Design Modifications

Like other coins of the era, and the US Eagle denomination, minor design modifications were made to the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle in its early years. Like the $20 Liberty Double Eagle before it, the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle saw three minor variations in the design over the production life of the coin:

  • Type 1 – very early issues in 1907 were struck in high relief with Roman numerals for the date and no national motto
  • Type 2 – most coins issued in 1907, and through 1908, were in typical circulation relief with Arabic numerals for the date mark and no national motto
  • Type 3 – public outcry over the lack of the national motto resulted in the US Mint adding IN GOD WE TRUST above the sun on the reverse, with this modification struck through 1911
  • Type 4 – the final modification to the coins included the addition of two stars on the obverse (bringing the total to 48 from 46), reflecting the admission of Arizona and New Mexico to the Union

Certified $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

As with other Pre-33 US Gold Coins, there are options to own Certified Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coins. While non-certified coins in BU, AU, or other circulated conditions are possible as well, many collectors tend toward the coins certified by the Professional Coin Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

Collect $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles from BGASC

Please feel free to contact BGASC if you have any questions about Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle Coins. You can call us at 888-992-4272, chat with us online, or simply send us an email with your inquiries.