1922-S $20 MS66 Certification #06666173, PCGS #9174
David Akers (1975/88)
At one time, the 1922-S was considered to be one of the premier rarities of the Saint-Gaudens series, more rare than such issues as the 1920-S, 1929, 1930-S, 1931 and 1932, among others. Then in the early 1950s a quantity was found in Europe, followed by several additional small hoards in the 1960s and early 1970s. As recently as 1983, a hoard of more than 200 pieces, many of them MS-63 to MS-65 quality, was discovered in Central America. As a result of these discoveries, the 1922-S is relatively common today (second only to the common 1923-D among mintmarked issues of the decade) and can be obtained without great difficulty in any Mint State grade up to and including MS-64. Gems remain rare, but enough are around that one can be located with only a moderate amount of searching. Of course, superb (MS-67) quality pieces, although a few do exist, are still all but impossible to locate.
The 1922-S is nearly always very sharply struck. The surfaces are frosty and usually have well above average lustre for the series. The color, particularly on most top grade specimens, is characteristically excellent, usually a rich greenish gold with orange highlights or a deep yellow gold with a coppery tint. Many specimens have noticeable reddish or orange copper spots. Some specimens have a noticeable inner "rim" (die bulge) just inside the normal rim that runs through the stars and tops of the reverse letters and across the sun. Rounded, almost beveled, rims are seen on many examples of this issue.