1913-S $20 MS65 Certification #06620410, PCGS #9163
David Akers (1975/88)
Most 1913-S double eagles are fairly well struck, but a good number of them are quite weak along the bottom obverse rim from 5:00 to 7:00. This shows up as weakness in the Capitol building, the leaves lying against the rock, and especially the stars. Nearly all examples of this issue have very good to excellent lustre, "soft" frosty surfaces and excellent color. The color is almost always a light to medium orange gold and some specimens have noticeable reddish copper spots.
Are mintage figures an accurate gauge of relative rarity between issues from different series? Well, consider for a moment the 1913-S eagle and 1913-S double eagle. The mintage of the latter is almost exactly half the mintage of the eagle and yet the 1913-S $10 is one of the 20th-century's prime gold rarities in Mint State while the $20 is only moderately rare except at the highest Mint State levels. Now, how accurate is mintage when comparing issues of the same series? Again, consider the 1913-S double eagle. It has the third lowest mintage of the entire series (after the 1907 High Relief and 1908-S) and yet it ranks squarely in the middle of the series in terms of both population rarity and condition rarity. Obviously then, one cannot look to mintage figures to provide meaningful rarity information. The above comments should not be taken as a denigration of the 1913-S because it is quite rare even in MS-63 and true gems are very rare. However, I have seen a fair number of MS-65 specimens and even a few superb, nearly perfect ones, the finest possibly being the fabulous example in the Browning Collection in a Texas bank.