David Akers (1975/88): In my opinion, this issue ranks pretty much in the middle of the series with respect to both population rarity (in Mint State only) and condition rarity. The fact that it is priced so much higher than the other issues that are less rare is due solely to the fact that the 1930-S is not generally available in circualted grades while the others are. The 1930-S is an issue that is seen in Choice (MS-63) or Very Choice (MS-64) condition nearly as often as it is in the lowest Mint State grades. True gems are seldom available, but a dozen or more exist, none of which is distinguishable from the others as "the best." I do not recall ever seeing one that could unequivocally be called "Superb," i.e. MS-67. A small hoard of original Mint State pieces (reportedly 40 to 50 pieces) is still intact in the San Francisco area; I have taken this hoard into account in my rarity ratings.
The 1930-S is generally fairly well struck although it is not as sharp as many of the other issues of this series. (It is much sharper, however, than the usually weak 1920-S.) A trace of weakness in the haircurls around the face and a lack of detail on the lower part of the eagle's wing and trailing leg are standard for this issue. Lustre is nearly always excellent as is the color which is typically a rich yellow or greenish yellow gold, often highlighted with pale rose. Many specimens have noticeable reddish copper spots.
Bowers & Ruddy 11/73:560 - Dr. & Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Collection - Jim O'Neal Collection of Saint-Gaudens Eagles- Heritage 1/2009:3529, $299,000
National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution
Bob R. Simpson Collection
Henry Chapman 10/1933:10 - Floyd Starr Collection - Stack's 10/1992:1277 - Heritage 3/2009:3195, $92,000