Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 60

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Lot 3394

1927-S $20 St. Gaudens. NGC graded MS-66. Lovely golden toning. The finest example we have ever offered at auction. Pleasingly bright and lustrous, both sides are warmly colored in orange-gold hues. Numismatists discovered quite early that Gem Mint State 1927-S double eagles, in fact, any in the mid- to higher-Mint State ranges for this issue, are quite rare. This coin traces to a Heritage Auction Galleries sale of The Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage, where it was said:

"The coin offered in this lot possesses a wonderful mix of apricot and yellow-gold patination, and exhibits vibrant luster. The design elements are exceptionally well struck, with the Capitol showing excellent definition. It is devoid of significant marks, save for an inoffensive shallow linear abrasion on Liberty's chest. Interestingly though, a similar type of mint made "scrape" on the sun as appeared on the coin in the previous lot is visible, leading one to believe that these two coins were struck from the same reverse die within a relatively short period of time. Perhaps the parent die was over polished in this area. This is a magnificent specimen that is sure to generate spirited bidding." Pop 3; 2 finer in 67 (PCGS # 9188) .

With certain other (mainly branch-mint issue) $20 Saints, the 1927-S once occupied a more illustrious status in the series than it does today, rare as it is. In the 1940s and 1950s, it was generally thought to be the fourth or fifth rarest issue in the series after the 1924-S, 1926-D and 1926-S, perhaps on a par with the 1931-D. Hard to believe, too, many considered the '27-S to be even rarer than the 1927-D, which today sell for well over a million dollars when offered for sale. Then, a small number of 1927-S double eagles were found in European banks in the 1960s and 1970s. As these returned to the U.S., opinions shifted, although no really substantial quantities of the '27-S were ever found.
Estimated Value $100,000 - 110,000.


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