1909-S $20 MS64 Certification #11496995, PCGS #9153
David Akers (1975/88)The 1909-S is a common issue in anything less than gem condition. Several rather large hoards of Uncirculated examples have been uncovered, including several thousand pieces in Central America in 1983. Gem quality coins are very scarce but certainly not rare, and I have seen quite a few that graded a full MS-65 over the years. There are also a few exceptional quality examples of this issue known that are distinctly better than MS-65. The MS-65+ to MS-67 Eliasberg coin comes first to mind, and I have seen others. Overall, I find this issue to be somewhat more elusive in high grade than any of the other early San Francisco Mint issues except the 1908-S and 1913-S.
Most 1909-S double eagles are very sharply struck and have "soft" frosty surfaces and some granularity. A few are rather satiny, but I have never seen one with the super satiny finish that is present on some specimens of the 1908-S. Lustre is good to very good but seldom really exceptional. Color, however, is a strong point with most specimens having very appealing greenish gold to light rose or orange color. Many specimens have distinctly "rounded" rims.
Augustus Saint Gaudens
90% Gold, 10% Copper
The United States of America