What’s the most beautiful U.S. coin ever made? Whenever that question arises, one of the first and most frequent answers is sure to be the Saint-Gaudens double eagle, or twenty-dollar gold piece. And those who know the subject well are almost certain to specify the “Saint” with high relief.
This stunning coin resulted from a truly unique relationship between two towering figures of their day: Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the most famous American sculptor at the turn of the 20th century, and Theodore Roosevelt, a U.S. president whose ardent pursuit of excellence encompassed the nation’s coinage.
In 1905, Roosevelt personally prevailed upon Saint-Gaudens to design his official inaugural medal, which proved to be exceptionally handsome. In a subsequent conversation at a Washington dinner party, they discussed their mutual admiration for the high- relief coins.... (Expand Text)