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PCGS Around the World: A Key-Date Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

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This 1930-S Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle arrived at the PCGS offices in Paris and is graded PCGS MS65. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Coin submissions to PCGS from Europe often reveal new discoveries, and a recent submission didn’t disappoint with its nice Mint State key-date United States Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle.

The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, a gold coin with a denomination of $20 and named after designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens, is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and iconic United States coins. The series, which continues to be very popular and heavily collected, is tough to complete because of the number of rare-date examples commanding a substantial price.

One of the most difficult to acquire is the 1930-S. For the year 1930, only the San Francisco Mint produced double eagle coinage, and with a mintage of 74,000 coins it’s one of the lower-mintage circulation issues. However, with gold coinage, mintage is only part of the story. Surviving coins are a more significant aspect toward rarity and demand, and for the Saint-Gaudens series, the 1930-S stands out as a rarity dwarfed only by the higher-mintage 1927-D that boasts a far lower number of survivors. The legendary 1933 is a rarer coin than both, but it’s not considered collectable due to the legal issues surrounding private ownership of the coin and its absolute rarity.

Just under 1,173,000 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles have been encapsulated by PCGS during the company’s nearly 40-year history. This figure includes the only legally obtainable 1933 “Saint.” There are several other dates that have fewer than 100 examples graded by PCGS. These dates are the 1931-D with 97 examples, 1931 with 85 examples, 1932 with 83 examples, 1930-S with 53 examples, and 1927-D with just nine examples. This data reflects the scarcity of these series key dates. The 1930-S being the second-rarest issue after the 1927-D for circulation issues. So, when one such coin was sent for grading in a Paris submission, it deservedly became the talk of the grading room.

The recently submitted 1930-S Double Eagle profiled here is among the top 20 examples graded by PCGS. It is tied with only eight other examples in MS65, with two in MS65+, six grading MS66, and just three in MS66+. With the 1930-S still considered a sleeper for the series, valuation range can be dramatic. The PCGS Price Guide currently values a PCGS MS65 example of the 1930-S at $360,000. The last sales record for a PCGS-graded MS65 was recorded in a May 2023 Heritage Auctions sale, where the coin sold for $288,000.

With more than a million Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles graded by PCGS, locating a date with fewer than 53 examples graded and notching a top 20 showing is of significance. It makes one wonder what more is still waiting to be discovered around the world.

St. Gaudens Double Eagles

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