1921 ST. GAUDENS $20, MOTTO MS62
ONE OF THE KEY DATES TO THE SET.
NGC Graded Higher:
The 1921 Double Eagle is a close match to the rarity and desirability of the 1920–S issue. Virtually the entire mintage was destroyed during the 1930s and no hoards of any size have been discovered. The 1921 Double Eagle is one of the few dates that have about an equal number known of circulated and uncirculated examples. The AU 58 population numbers (20 coins) reported for the date are probably exaggerated due to re–submissions as the coin climbs rapidly in price from AU to Mint State. The 1921 Double Eagle is a prime rarity, but several Gem examples somehow survived. Interestingly, both the American Numismatic Society and the Smithsonian collection contain a Superb Gem example of the date. Both were obtained from the Mint at the time of issue. The Connecticut State Library contained two Gem examples that entered the market several years ago, one of which sold at auction for over $1,000,000 in 2007.
The numismatic community was stunned in the summer of 2000 when Sotheby's auction house offered a previously unknown example of a Proof Roman Finish presentation–strike 1921 Double Eagle. That coin traces its pedigree to Raymond T. Baker, who was director of the US Mint in 1921. Reportedly the piece was struck for the director's nephew, Joseph Baker, on his birth. The coin, which is lightly cleaned, sold for $203,500. In 2006, a second example of this incredible rarity surfaced. This time it was offered at auction incorrectly attributed as an MS 63. Two very knowledgeable numismatists battled until the hammer fell at $1,495,000. The newly discovered coin is nearly identical to the Sotheby's specimen but is original and unmolested. These presentation strikes rank as one of the most interesting issues of the Saint–Gaudens series. The auction record for business–strike examples of the 1921 Double Eagle has now crossed the million–dollar mark. One can only guess what these two rarities would bring on today's market.
In 1908, Congress mandated that the motto IN GOD WE TRUST once again take its place on the Double Eagle. This ruling overturned an earlier decision by President Theodore Roosevelt, who believed that the use of a diety's name on circulating coinage was an act blasphemy. The Motto portion of the Saint-Gaudens series continued through 1933 with a singe interruption in yearly production from 1917-1919. By far the rarest issue of this era is the final-year 1933, of which only a single example is currently legal to own. That coin fetched a record $7,590,020 at auction in 2002. Other key dates are the 1920-S, 1921, 1927-D, 1927-S, 1929, 1930-S, 1931, 1931-D and 1932, most examples of which were melted in the Mint after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued the Gold Recall Act in 1933. Semi key-date issues include the 1908-S, 1924-D, 1924-S, 1925-D, 1925-S, 1926-D and 1926-S.