Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 57

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Lot 2630

1921 $20 St. Gaudens. NGC graded MS-62. A frosty example, lightly toned. Light bagmarks are noted on both sides, none of which are noteworthy. A mostly brilliant Brilliant Uncirculated example and well within the broad confines of the "Choice" category. Gleaming effervescent luster with its wisp toning boosts the visual attractiveness of the coin with its residual cartwheel frost. A few scattered marks as noted are to be found on the obverse, including some small ones at the thigh and another below the lowest bunch of leaves in the branch, while the reverse has a few marks on the main wing feathers.

Broadly speaking, there are three classes of double eagles: common dates (of which hundreds of thousands are known), scarce dates (with a few hundred to a couple of thousand available, but not always seen in every auction), and then we have the truly rare dates. 1921 exemplifies the latter class. A decidedly low mintage of 528,500 pieces was produced in the depths of the short, deep post-World War I business depression. Like other twenties in those days, most of the 1921 issue was kept in storage in U.S. Treasury vaults and presumably melted after 1933, with only a few score reaching actual circulation. Fewer still were preserved in Mint State grades (unlike the post-1929 rarities which all tend to be in Uncirculated condition). David Akers' research established that more than half of all extant specimens are in circulated grades, while most of the others grade no higher than Mint State 60. This coin's appreciably better status places it at High Rarity-7 in Akers' rarity scale.

In terms of total pieces known, the 1921 is fourth rarest in the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series after the 1907 Ultra High Relief, 1927-D, and 1933. Although there may be more 1921 double eagles in numismatic collections, the date is more difficult to find in Mint condition than even the widely admired 1930-S and 1931-D. That makes this attractive Mint State 62 an offering of considerable importance to 21st century gold specialists. Be forewarned: Bidders may be surprised to feel a shrewd kick in their estimates arising from the other savvy competitors in the room hoping to snag it when this piece crosses the auction block. Pop 15; 8 finer, 7 in 63, 1 in 64 (PCGS # 9172) .
Estimated Value $110,000 - 120,000.

Realized $143,750

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