Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle
At the insistence of President Theodore Roosevelt, America's most famous 19th century sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens was commissioned to design new gold coins. The goal was to change the outdated Liberty look, used since 1838, with new, updated, highly detailed designs. What evolved were unique works of art, miniature sculptures created in fine gold. In honor of their designer, they are widely known as Saint-Gaudens $20 coins. The marvelously detailed Saint-Gauden's designs feature a standing Miss Liberty, holding a torch, lighting the way to freedom as dawn rises over the capitol. The reverse is a majestic flying eagle, the Twenty Dollar denomination, and the words "In God We Trust" for coins minted after 1908. These are not medallions or other reproductions, but genuine, U.S. legal tender, $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coins minted from 1907 to 1933.
Mintages and Rarities
The mintages are not a true indication of relative rarity in many cases. Coins remaining in bank vaults in the United States were melted after 1933; coins in bank vaults overseas were not. Millions of double eagles, of both the Liberty Head and Saint-Gaudens designs, were repatriated for numismatic and investment purposes. The 1924 Saint-Gaudens double eagle was once thought to be rare although 4,323,500 were struck. Large quantities of 1924 double eagles were found in European bank vaults, and today the 1924 is one of the most common of the series. On the other hand, the 1925-S had 3,776,500 struck, but few were released, most remained at the Treasury and bank vaults but available from the Treasury at face value in 1932. Fewer than a thousand are known to have survived; one, in almost-perfect condition (graded MS-67) sold in 2005 for $287,500.